John Wort Hannam's classic story-songs have won many awards ... with good reason. He creates unvarnished, straight-from-the-heart material about subjects with deep meaning for him: lost love, small-town Ontario, redemption, fair play and the stumbling search to live a right life. Hannam doesn't use lyrical tricks, hooks or clever twists; he writes in simple, declarative sentences that capture exactly what he wants to express in perfect rhymes and dependable meter, and sets them to earnest waltzes, old-timey ballads and back-porch country tunes. For instance, "With the Grain" captures the moment when John told his carpenter father he planned to leave his public-school teaching job to pursue a music career. His father's response was succinct, proverb-like bits of wisdom drawn from the time he spent at his work bench, encouraging his son to chart his own course. Good thing John got that advice; we are all better off for it.