By Rae Porter
Monday Magazine contributor
There a few things in Victoria that herald the coming spring; downtown streets lined with cherry blossoms, groups of friends bundled up on patios enjoying the warming sunshine (and surprise rain showers) and, of course, new music from old favourites.
As February turns into March, Jon Middleton and Roy Vizer release their eighth studio album, Here; an assured collection of nine brand new songs that touch upon themes of love, presence, hardship and joy.
“To me, this album is something special,” says Middleton. “It contains all the elements that I hold dear about this band and it feels free to me; as true an expression of our music as we’ve ever created.”
Here is Jon and Roy at their best.
The title track is melodic and thoughtful, it’s lyricism gently weaving a sense of contentment for the listener. The first single released “Where Has My Love Gone” is raw with the impassioned emotion of Middleton’s vocals, complemented perfectly by Vizer’s stripped-back percussion. This sweet melancholy is balanced perfectly with more uplifting tracks; the buoyant, horn-filled “Headstrong” and “Seven Colts” being particular stand outs.
Of course, with a new album comes new live dates, and the boys are not slacking. The band cap off a month-long European tour with two sure-to-blow-the-roof-off homecoming shows at the Capital Ballroom here in Victoria and Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom, April 5 and 6, respectively.
“It’s been two years since we’ve done a hometown show in Victoria where our fans could move and dance,” Middleton says, “And for this reason we are extra excited to play Capital Ballroom again.”
Lending support for both shows will be the electrifying, unmissable Old Soul Rebel, with the folksy stylings of Carmanah joining them at the Commodore, a stage the band are also itching to return to. “The Commodore holds a special place in our musical memories,” Middleton shares, “I remember Roy and I being there about 14 years ago and saying, ‘one day we will headline this venue’ and last year that dream came true! And we sold it out, which blew our minds.”
With Here, Jon and Roy have the listener fall for their everyman charm once again, reminding us all of the simple joys found in living. It’s a welcome return.
Tickets for Jon and Roy at the Capital Ballroom on April 5 are available online at ticketrocket.co and in person at Lyle’s Place.