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Published: 2010/11/01
by Brian Robbins

Jon & Roy

Blue Heron

Well, alright – new Sunday-morning music! Or even better: new it’s-Sunday-morning-any-ding-dang-time-you-want-it-to-be music! Homes, the new release from Canadian duo Jon & Roy, is a 14-song collection of positive vibes and worldly grooves that can’t help but make things just a little bit better any time you spin it.

Hailing from Vancouver Island, Jon Middleton (guitar, vocals, harmonica) and Roy Vizer (drums, percussion) hang out in a cool pool of sound that’s fed by sources from all over the planet. Tunes such as “Any Day Now” and “Homemade Shirts” are blessed with rolling and tumbling African rhythms, happily chasing their own tails with burbling finger-picked guitar and happy violins; “Oh It Seemed” is a couple minutes’ worth of rootsy riddim bliss (topped with a tasty dumpling of wah guitar); and if you can imagine Jack Johnson fronting Sublime, then you have an idea of what the gently-rapped rant of “Booker’s Song” sounds like.

Nothing is forced in the world of Jon & Roy; they can create their own version of the Dead-flavored Old West of Barlow/Weir (“Boon ‘Elm”) or Hunter/Garcia (“Gold”) and be equally at home in either. “Narwhal” is a lovely bit of reggae-flavored reflection, while “Deerfoot” closes the album down with a jammed-out slice of live dub. And it all takes place just as naturally as can be.

Among the friends joining Jon & Roy in their musical sojourn, special mention must be given to the fiddlers three: Dougal MacLean, Daniel Lapp, and James McKie all contribute lovely and imaginative dollops of bowed sweetness.

Homes is a nice place to be; it just plain feels good. By track 5, when Jon Middleton sings, “It’s gonna be fine …”, you can’t help but believe it. And that’s pretty cool.

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