Victoria duo grows to three 

Acoustic folk rockers Jon & Roy flourish after setting down roots, adding bass to the mix


Who: Jon & Roy (opening for The Cat Empire)

When: Wednesday, Nov. 18, 9:30 p.m.

Where: GLC

Cost: $25

With the straight-up band name like Jon & Roy, audiences should expect a similarly straightforward approach to music. No mussin' and fussin' here, these guys are all about folk and roots acoustic music with a subtle island feel.

Can't imagine it? Okay, couple rich vocals with melodic guitar, a mellow beat and a deep, thumping bass, and you have the Jon and Roy sound: rich and layered, slightly reminiscent of classic folk with a hint of reggae thrown in to keep things warm and upbeat. Now can you hear it?

Things have changed since Jon Middleton and Roy Vizer played in Whistler in the spring of 2008. The most noticeable change is in their lineup - they've expanded their tight-knit duo to include a third full-time group member, Ryan Tonelli, who picks up the bass in their live shows and on their third, full-length album, which is currently in the works.

With Middleton making the lyrics and melodies click, and Vizer supplying the beats, they've added some serious depth to the mix with Tonelli's bass.

"We're really good friends, and he actually didn't even play bass until a year and a half ago," Middleton said.

"...We definitely really enjoy playing with the bass now - we still do a couple songs where it's just me and Roy, but for the most part we have bass. I don't know, it just makes a more full sound, and it allows me as a guitarist and even the drums to just kind of lock into different things."

The musicians met up while studying at the University of Victoria and started jamming together. Before they knew it, a band was born. They started playing gigs in Victoria back in 2002, and a few year later, they released their first album, Sittin' Back , followed by a brief break to let Middleton record his solo album, After a Trip , and allow Roy to get comfortable playing a full drum set. Then, they reconnected with their producer Stephen Franke, and decided to put other career pursuits on hold indefinitely to pursue their musical careers.

"It was more Roy, really - he's planning on being a teacher. Myself, I'm full-gear towards music," Middleton said.

In spring 2008, they released their latest album, Another Noon , which landed them gigs across Canada and the UK, touring with Buck 65.

"It was great! England was definitely a cool place to check out, and it was whirlwind tour - we were only there for eight days and played seven shows," he added.

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