With their chorus-driven roots/folk, acclaimed rock band Jon and Roy continue to roll. After five critically-lauded albums, the group is proud to share their sixth effort, Riverside. Featuring warm and genuine song writing, Jon and Roy combine Bob Dylan-like authenticity with Lumineer-esque heart-swelling stomp-and-clap acoustic rock.
Neither recall exactly when they started playing music together, but they distinctly remember it being soon after meeting. Symmetry was found in Middleton’s gently wavering voice, powerful in spots but never enough to overshadow his expressive guitar playing, and Roy Vizer’s inventive, expressive percussion, delivered in a way that meshed perfectly with its elements. To date, Jon and Roy have played hundreds of shows in clubs, theatres and festivals — in their native Canada and throughout the U.S. and UK — and have seen their music placed in everything from MTV, HBO and NBC programs to spots for Scotiabank, Volkswagen, Lululemon, Telus and more.
At seven songs and clocking in at just under a half hour, Riverside is tight and chock full of magic and mystery. After winning best roots recording at the Western Canadian Music Awards for their 2012 album Let It Go and the success of 2014’s effort, By My Side, the band decided to experiment with their sound. For Riverside, Middleton used a semi-acoustic guitar on all tracks, making this the first album he’s ever recorded without an acoustic guitar. Vizer also flipped the script, using a traditional drum set for Riverside session as opposed to his usual studio set.
This tinkering produced a revamped sound, adding dynamics to the group’s already upbeat folk stylings, but 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. The end result, which features contributions from bassist Louis Sadava, charts a new path for the group while keeping Jon and Roy’s core tenets intact.