Brothers bring music home

By  Virginia Mervar, Youth Speak News
  • April 23, 2014

TORONTO - In the Christian folk music scene, many know Joe Zambon for his distinctive beard as much as they know him for his music. For his latest album, his fifth, Zambon took his beard and his music back home to record with his brother.

Titled Brothers, the album is set to be released May 2. He will be playing two CD-release concerts — Toronto and Ottawa — in one weekend.

The single “I just want peace” was released in March in anticipation of the album, where Zambon decided he wanted to share a new acoustic song, which he hasn’t done in a while.

“This album was recorded with my brother Nick in the living room of my parent’s farmhouse in Iroquois. Family and my out- of-the-city roots are important to me, so I’m glad they got to be highlighted in and through this album,” Zambon said.

Zambon currently lives in Toronto where he works at York University’s Catholic chaplaincy, but was born and raised in a small town outside of Iroquois, Ont., where he began playing piano and teaching himself guitar at home before playing at churches and for youth group events, followed by recording music and selling his work on iTunes.

The inspiration for the 10 new songs on Brothers have come from a variety of sources, including Pope Francis for “Remember the Poor,” and Archbishop Fulton Sheen for “Dead Man Rise,” both of which are about extending the heart to others and the strong power of love.

With Brothers Zambon continues the theme of forgiveness, which he started with his previous album Sleeper, Rise (2012). He is particularly excited about the song “Get Better,” as it also flows from Sleeper, Rise. But this one, he said, “is very close to my wounded heart. So perhaps this is why I am most excited to share this song with others.”

With Sleeper, Rise, Zambon’s songs struck a chord with audiences because of the album’s strong theme of healing.

“I wrote Sleeper, Rise from the broken mess of my life, for those who were also broken. I went through a lot of healing in the past few years of my life by forgiving those who had hurt me and by also forgiving myself. I was hoping that the listener of Sleeper, Rise would find some encouragement to venture down the path of forgiveness, which I found led me to freedom and new life.”

But it’s not just about the music; it’s about the spiritual journey that inspires lyrics and themes such as forgiveness and God’s love that go beyond the traditional praise and worship music or Mass hymn. With his faith-inspired music, God and religion merge and come fully alive for Zambon.

“At a younger age I became aware that music was a gift I had been given to communicate God’s love to the world. I found God meeting me in music, and I found others meeting God through the music,” said Zambon. “Music was a joy in my own life but I realized that it could also be a joy to others. I came to see God speaking personally to me through my song writing and felt compelled to share those songs with others. For me music is prayer, whether they are hymns of praise and thanksgiving or psalms of lamentation and petition.”

With his song “Not That Different” reaching the top five on last year’s iTunes electronic music charts, Zambon’s style of music has become internationally known with Sleeper, Rise. He hopes that his music brings the joy of the Lord to others and that the will of God be done through him.

Zambon’s concert in Ottawa is on May 2 at the Centrepointe Studio Theatre and at the University of Toronto’s Newman Centre on May 3. For more information, visit

(Mervar, 18, is a Religion and English student at the University of Toronto.)

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