Summer solstice hasn’t quite brought summer weather to Victoria yet, but at least the sounds of summer are here.
Local folk-rock favourites Jon and Roy, who released their fourth full-length album Let it Go mid-June, are home for a show Saturday., June 30 at the Phillips Brewery alongside Carmanah and Wake Owl.
While the album rings true to the sound that Jon and Roy is known for, this album takes on a decidedly freer tone. The extended instrumental arrangements have the spontaneity you’d expect from a live show.
“Overall, we haven’t really changed anything stylistically,” says Jon Middleton (guitar, vocals and bass). “We’re loosening up on song structure, extending them longer than we normally would have, and going for more of a live-show feel. We take the songs a little further on this album.”
That feeling is most apparent in the closing track “Time of Dying,” with a flow as mesmerizing as the surging swell of the ocean that builds like thunder until it burts open — with every crash of the cymbal sounding like a wave slamming into our rocky coast. Turn this one up loud, close your eyes and let it carry you away to the beach.
The chugging acoustic guitar is still there and the ska and reggae-inspired rhythms (complete with horns by Dave St. Jean on trombone and Phil Mamelin on flugelhorn), but in smaller helpings than before. (The album also features Laura Mitic on violin and Stephen Franke on accordion).
Let It Go has some Spanish flavour (“Tavern Song”) and a more mature, unrestrained voice.
“I’m at an age now, 30, and it’s just a number, but at the same time it’s a transitionary period and that’s reflected in the album, at least lyrically,” says Middleton, who plays alongside Roy Vizer (drums and percussion) and Louis Sadava (bass and back-up vocals).
“It came off pretty casually. I write songs all the time. After I put out my solo album about a year back, I started writing more stuff that suited the band. There was no pressure for us to be putting out anything, so it was a pretty casual approach.”
Funny enough, these summery songs were recorded in the dreary mid-winter at Blue Heron Studios, where they’ve recorded all their material with producer Stephen Franke.
But Middleton says most were written in the spring and summer and that is evident in the carefree product.
Take advantage of the chance to see these guys live, in one of the best outdoor venues the city has to offer, because they’ll be hitting the road on tour this fall and they’re taking the soundtrack of summer with them. M
Jon and Roy
CD release show
Saturday, June 30
Doors at 6pm
Tickets $20 at Lyle’s Place, Ditch Records and Ticketweb.ca