Scene & Heard

SOUND SEEKERS: Folk from the Fuzz

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at OttawaMagazine.com. Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani

Patrol cop Joe Brownrigg’s outlet is songwriting. Since 2011, he’s been releasing folk albums that deal with what he sees in the grimiest parts of capital city.

The guitar-slinger in blue will release his third album, called Free, Sunday at the Daily Grind.

Joe Brownrigg
Joe Brownrigg CD release show happens Sunday, Dec. 8 at The Daily Grind.

It’s his second release this year. In May, Brownrigg released The Wild, which features songs called “The Forgotten Ones”, “Almost Home”, “Give It All Away” — and other titles that convey hopelessness. The tunes are sombre with hints of sunny harmonies when a verse calls for it.

These are songs are about hard-done-by kids, domestic violence, and pimps. They take place in hospital waiting rooms, on the street, and in the projects. A few songs deal with the story of a drug-addicted prostitute that Brownrigg, 34, says is one of the worst cases he’s seen.

“I felt this overwhelming need to help her,” he says, “but I found it almost impossible because, as anyone with drug addiction in their family knows, it’s really hard to help someone with those problems.

“Put yourself in my shoes where you’re a cop and they have absolutely zero trust in you. In fact, all they have for you is fear. How do you help a person when you’re in that position? What do you do? How do you help them? It’s an impossible question,” he says. (more…)