Straightforward playing and honest gritty vocal delivery with a real sense of urgency are the hallmarks of this record. This is a CD that deserves to be heard and begs to be listened to.
- Tim Readman, Penguin Eggs
No Mean City reflects on a bittersweet homage to life in the urban world....the real power of Brooks’ offering lies in its altruistic, good-natured poetry in the face of a place that, more often than not, couldn’t care less. **** (out of five)
- Brian Towie, Metro
This is certainly no typical singer-songwriter release. Some tracks are totally solo — with Brooks supplying guitar, harmonica and harmonium — while others have subtle contributions from the likes of James Gray (Blue Rodeo), Dan MacDonald, and multi instrumentalist/producer Pat Simmonds.
- Kerry Doole, Exclaim!
Jon Brooks has crafted a sparse, thoughtful and eloquent collection of stories. Political without being preachy, Brooks' roughened vocal delivery invokes shades of Tom Waits. The understated acoustic instrumentation aids the flow of the songs in an almost hypnotic manner. No Mean City is great as a mellow background listen, but definitely stands up to focused scrutiny.
- Shannon Whibbs, chartattack.com
'...the album is a stripped down affair reminiscent of Springsteen's NEBRASKA.'
- Mark Rheaume, CBC