By Rae Porter
Monday Magazine contributor
A chance meeting on Saltspring Island. A love story. And now one of Victoria’s most intriguing new bands.
Ocie Elliott is Jon Middleton (of Jon and Roy) and Sierra Lundy, herself a talented artist and musician. I once described Ocie Elliott as being ‘the aural equivalent of indigo painted skies and the first summer stars,’ and this remains one of the truer statements I’ve uttered in my time.
Their contemporary indie folk blend is both immediately familiar and yet startlingly unique. Middleton and Lundy’s complementary vocals, gently teasing in their harmonious melodies, layer atop stripped back instrumentals. Think Angus and Julia Stone with softer edges, or Gillian Welch sans the twang. Their music seems borne of Vancouver Island’s deep green forests, grey-laden skies and crashing waves.
It’s been somewhat of a whirlwind rise for Ocie Elliott, who recently signed with Vancouver-based Nettwerk Records. Their self-titled first EP was released in October 2017 and instantly struck a chord with listeners. In a world where the all-mighty digital stream can direct a band’s success, the duo are darlings; on Spotify alone they have 100,000 monthly listeners and feature heavily on the site’s folk-focused playlists.
Of course, Ocie Elliott’s draw is not all apps and algorithms. Their thoughtful, intimate sets at last year’s Song & Surf and 2017’s Rifflandia were poetic highlights of each festival, and the last 18 months have seen them open for Roo Panes, Mason Jennings, Kim Churchill and even a jump across the pond to support Sons of the East in Europe.
With their first full-length album, We Fall In, due for release Feb. 8, this is shaping up to be a big year for Middleton and Lundy. Each song is a tender moment of joy; a snapshot of the love and connection between the pair. The first single, “Hold My Name” is a particularly poignant poesy to the subtleties of love, and their newest single “Mingle in Pine” is the whimsical intertwining of a gentle love story with natural imagery.
The duo will enchant the fine folk of Tofino with back-to-back nights at the Maq Pub on Feb. 8-9, before heading back to Victoria for their album release concert at the Upstairs Cabaret in Bastion Square on Sunday, Feb. 10.
Fintan, the West Coast’s answer to Shawn Mendes, will kick the night off and Davers (of Current Swell) will be providing direct support with his new buzz-worthy solo project. With cabaret style seating and an intimate atmosphere, this night with some of Victoria’s best is not to be missed.
Tickets are $15 and are available from Lyle’s and the Ticket Rocket headquarters on Meares Street, or online at ticketrocket.co.