Nerissa Paglinauan, NPR Online
Jonatha Brooke performs her song "Steady Pull."
Cover of Jonatha Brooke's latest CD, Steady Pull (Bad Dog)
Singer-songwriter Jonatha Brooke is something of an underground sensation, with an adoring fan base built largely on word of mouth and extensive touring with her band.
She was dropped by her major label, MCA, while she was part of the folk duo called The Story — and has been recording her own CDs ever since, under her own Bad Dog record label.
Brooke constantly tours to promote her CDs, and recently stopped by NPR's studio 4A, along with her band, to chat with NPR's Michele Norris and perform half a dozen songs.
She's been gaining some attention recently for "War" — a song she says she felt compelled to write after the first Gulf War. Brooke decided to re-record the song, believing that it was just as relevant today as it was in 1991.
One reviewer said of Brooke's music that "trauma has a wonderful effect on Jonatha."
Her response: "Well, it inspires all of us, doesn't it? Songs do come out of really rough times."
One of Brooke's songs, "Your House," was recorded at a time when she was both falling in love and coming to terms with the fact that her mother may be dying.
"It's a very intense song," says Brooke. "On the surface it sounds like another just head-over-heels in love song, and at the same time... it was about perhaps saying goodbye to somebody."
Brooke's latest album is called Steady Pull.