One show was all it took for the members of Johnson Crook to realize there was something special going on between its four members. Shortly after meeting at Canada’s Music Incubator artist entrepreneurship program in 2014, Noel Johnson, Jared Craig and brothers Nathan and Trevor Crook decided to do a one-off gig at Toronto’s Cameron House; based on positive feedback from friends and colleagues, they decided to form a band and see where things went.
What followed were sessions that the band describes as “freeing,” especially since there weren’t any deadlines or musical limitations. It allowed the band to bring an array of influences to the table, from Stevie Ray Vaughan and The Eagles to contemporary artists like Terra Lightfoot and Leon Bridges. As a result, the band slowly began crafting a sound of their own, rooted in country, folk and ‘70s rock, but with a heavy emphasis on their strongest asset: harmonies.
This was all captured live off the floor on their debut full-length recording, The Album. While the project explores love and heartache, there’s also an undeniable Canadian theme that runs throughout its lyrics, which stems from each member’s experiences growing up in small towns (though all four members are based in Toronto now). It’s something the band is unabashedly proud of, saying they’re not concerned with being “too Canadian… When travelling across the country and playing in so many different cities, we’re always made to feel at home. While the landscape changes, it seems like we’re always playing for our friends and neighbours.”
One of those friends now is iconic Canadian rock musician Tom Cochrane who, after hearing their track “Mr. Nobody,” offered to record it with them. “Tom was incredibly generous,” the band says. “The song already had a lot of vocals going on, and his voice and phrasing fit in seamlessly.” Just another harmonious step forward for the band.