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Oliver James Brooks Gets Personal on New Acoustic Album I Don’t But I Will

The Toronto folk-rocker turns down the volume on this live-in-the-studio effort.


Oliver James Brooks shares his current state of mind in his new live-off-the-floor acoustic album I Don’t But I Will — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

“It’s an intimate, acoustic-only album that was … born out of necessity,” the Toronto folk-rocker offers. “There’s something very personal and powerful — and a little scary — when you go into the studio, let everything out from inside, and leave with something that ultimately timestamps your feelings at that exact moment. When it came to the recording process, I wanted to ensure everything captured was completely honest and genuine. I didn’t want what I was feeling to hide behind any special effects, or anything like that. It’s the reason why I recorded the album live off the floor. No over-dubbing, just two microphones, one guitar, and one harmonica.”

Cut live in the studio on Feb. 2, 2020 at Toronto’s Berkeley Sound with Jack Emblem (engineering, mixing) and Joāo Carvalho (mastering) on deck, I Don’t But I Will follows this year’s single release Set Free, which was equally timely. “That song was written in response to the current state of our planet. The turmoil in which we live has reached an unfathomable level … Some days it becomes unbearable to even exist. It was on one of those very days that Set Free was written.”

Brooks arrived on the scene with his 2019 take-notice debut A Turn in the Bend. Written and mostly recorded while living in Brooklyn, New York, the eight-track LP quickly cemented the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s ability to capture and creatively express nuance in an intuitive, layered and carefully considered way.

A Turn in the Bend was inspired by the prevalent contrast between two landscapes: Brooklyn and the small town in Ontario where I grew up,” he recalls. “When it comes to the recording process — including I Don’t But I Will — capturing sounds that are unrehearsed and unexpected is just as important as the words themselves. It’s what I feel gives music impulse and emotion. A song or album can easily lose its meaning if the sound becomes too clinical or robotic, so everything is recorded with great care in order to maintain its originality and realness.”

Listen to I Don’t But I Will below or find it on your preferred DSP HERE, watch the video for Set Free (above) and Flyin’ Real Low (below), and find out more about Oliver James Brooks on his website and Instagram.