Sometimes, you’d think a review could write itself. Victoria resident Jon Middleton is probably best know for his wave friendly - and aptly titled - band, Jon & Roy. The quartet has grown from just Jon on guitar and vocals and percussionist Roy manning the kit into a quartet, and their songs have matured from bongo laced funky acoustic surf themes to full fledged Canadian summer evening soundtrackers. Upon hearing that Jon decided to record a solo-record, you’d naturally assume they would sound like demos and unfinished thoughts that would eventually end up on a Joy & Roy record.
And while Jon’s songs still rely on his gentle picked acoustic, the nine songs he offers up stand on their own and make this 28-minutes affair a rewarding listen.
There are plenty of moments of levity and fun; the simple shaker that opens the melody of “Long and Tall” like a drop of water in a single malt and the quicker pace of “Vibrant Scene” refresh the listen, but ultimately Jon has used this solo record to explore new terrain and influences (case in point, When you hear his diction and delivery on “A Different View”, you can’t help but think of Nick Drake). Sure, the flow of the ocean still influences his songs and you can see how “Vibrant Scene” could blossom with a full band treatment or how the album standout “On a Mountain” is destined to be a show opener for the band moving forward, but this is more about a personal journey. From start to finish the emotion he presents shows a huge step forward for this young song writer. “Under the Water” bobs along, letting you escape with your own thoughts and “In the Clouds” is as personal a track as I’ve heard from Jon to date.
MP3:: Jon Middleton - On a Mountain