John Wort Hannam hails from Alberta, where he started out writing narrative story songs and character sketches and carved out a name for himself singing those songs and telling those stories all across Canada and beyond.
In 2011, John and his wife Jenny welcomed a son, Charlie, and he started writing more personal songs, exposing more of his own feelings and experiences. That’s where he really found his stride as a songwriter and began to create his most meaningful work.
There are some truly powerful and wonderful songs on all of John’s albums, but a couple from those more recent albums really stand out as ones that I wanted to talk to John about.
One, from his 2015 album, Love Lives On, is a song called “Man of God,” which is inspired by the book Up Ghost River by Edmund Metatawabin, detailing his painful experiences growing up in an “Indian Residential School,” during a dark and disturbing chapter in Canadian history that has caused generations of trauma and hardships for our Indigenous peoples. It’s a difficult history to come to know, but one that needs to be shared and learned about.
His latest release, 2019’s Acres of Elbow Room, came about after a particularly difficult period of dark depression for John which culminated in a physical manifestation of years of undiagnosed and untreated difficulty, when he lost his voice and couldn’t sing. That song is called “Key of D Minor,” and it’s a powerful one that I could relate to directly.
I’m pleased to present this conversation with John Wort Hannam, where we talk about all of that and much more.
In just a couple of weeks, on October 15, John will release a new album, again produced by Steve Dawson, called Long Haul.
You can order John’s albums, as well as a song book, iron on patches, and even John Wort Hannam tea towels, from his website: johnworthannam.com