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Sample Track 1:
"Any Day Now" from Homes
Sample Track 2:
"Boon 'Elm" from Homes
Layer 2
Jon and Roy, Homes (Blue Heron Music) Love, Cannibalism, and the Majestic Narwhal:
Jon and Roy Create Beach Blanket Noir on Homes

Dilapidated mansion ballrooms and seedy gas stations. Towering ancient forests and white sand beaches. Bohemian bars and hipster coffee shops. Canadian duo/quartet Jon and Roy draw inspiration from every corner of their Vancouver Island home, a curious mix of island vibe and Twin Peaks, of Seattle cool and Hawaii north shore.

The result is Homes (Blue Heron; November 9th, 2010), an album of love and cannibalism, mysterious sea creatures, and hayseeds gone bad. Drawing on finger-picking styles from Mississippi to Zimbabwe, Jon and Roy have crafted a sound that injects indie folk with the rhythms and melodies of Afropop, dub and reggae.  It’s a sound that has moved them from Victoria’s beaches and boardwalks to sell-out crowds in Canadian theaters.

Jon and Roy’s songs come together intuitively. Ideas have hit on the beach or on the boardwalk in downtown Victoria where they started off playing for sandwich money. Songs arrived in the rundown ballroom of a stately Vancouver home, and in the furnace room in Roy’s basement.

“Where you play is a big part of the music you create, though it’s not often talked about,” percussionist Roy Vizer reflects. “It will bring out creativity.”

Songs spring from jam sessions based on Cuban beats (“Cuban Bee”) or from African guitar licks a la Thomas Mapfumo (“Any Day Now”). Inspiration comes from the “Howdy What?” caption on a quirky thrift store shirt (“Homemade Shirt”), odd run-ins, family stories, and the glories of underappreciated ocean animals (“Narwhal”).

Take “Boon Elm,” named for a friend’s bank-robbing great-great uncle who turned murderer and cannibal as he made his way from Kentucky to Victoria, BC. A tune they were working on had a dark country feel, and one night on the road in Ottawa, Jon and Roy did an internet search on the bandit. “We read it with the lights out, ghost-story style,” recalls percussionist Roy Vizer. The sordid tale’s vibe fit the song to a tee.

Creepy sparks also struck when guitarist Jon Middleton revisited a recording he made after a shouting match at a gas station. “There was this guy blaring a ridiculously racist country band,” Middleton remembers. “I was taken aback and told him to turn off his fucking music. ‘This is how I was raised,’ the guy retorted in defense of himself. It really fired me up and I recorded a 20-minute rant about it.” It turned into “Brooker’s Song,” named for their friend, the antithesis of the gas station guy.

But there’s a good-time lightness that drifts through Jon and Roy’s music that captures the laidback island side of Victoria (“It’s Gonna Be Fine”). This vibe gets bohemians and woodsmen alike dancing at local bars, and it’s gotten Jon and Roy on tour with The Cat Empire and Xavier Rudd, and with eccentric British reggae legend Finley Quaye.

“There’s something unique about where we’re from,” Middleton explains. “Victoria’s a very vibrant artistic community, and it pushes you to make music and read and write.”

<< release: 11/09/10 >>