Jon and Roy, Daniel Wesley, Fox Glove, Fintan O'brien

Sat. December 10th 2016 7:00PM Alix Goolden Performance Hall Victoria BC (All Ages)
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Jon Middleton and Roy Vizer each brought something new to the sessions for Riverside, their sixth recording as the acclaimed roots/folk rock band Jon and Roy.

Vizer, a trained percussionist, treated himself to a traditional drum set — not his typical studio path. “I put down the hand drums completely,” he said. “This was us trying to push it a little bit.”

Middleton also went off script. For the recording sessions at Greenhouse Studios in Vancouver, where records by Sarah MacLachlan, Matthew Good, K.D. Lang and 54-40 among others have been recorded, the singer-songwriter used a semi-acoustic guitar. He played the vintage 1947 Gibson L4 hollow body (on loan from the band’s manager) during each of the seven songs on Riverside, eschewing an acoustic guitar for the first time ever on a Jon and Roy recording.

The sound of amplification took some getting used to for all involved. But while it produced a revamped sound, adding more dynamics to the group’s already-upbeat folk stylings, nothing endangered the Jon and Roy trademarks: Vizer’s intuitive timekeeping, Middleton’s haunting, original voice, and the easygoing synchronicity of the longtime friends and musical partners.

Those remain front and center on Riverside. But there’s a freshness, too. “A new guitar can inspire new things for me,” Middleton said. “It put me in the flow of where I was going with the songwriting.”

The decision to tinker came at a point where Jon and Roy were already rolling creatively. The group’s 2012 album, Let it Go, won a Western Canadian Music Award for roots recording of the year and led to tours at home and through the U.S. and By My Side, their 2014 effort, received rave reviews and commercial radio play, European remixes and festival touring across Canada.

We acknowledge the financial support of FACTOR and Canada’s private radio broadcasters.