Jon Middleton and Roy Vizer, who met at the University of Victoria and still call the island village home, are touring to promote their new album, The Road Ahead is Golden (bass player Louis Sadava joined the duo a few years ago). Tofino is one of their favourite places to play, and they estimate that they have performed here over 20 times (this tour, at the Legion). When visiting, they make a point of swimming in the ocean, spending time at the beach, and watching the storms roll in. Since Tofino is a smaller town, Middleton says that people really let loose at their shows—so “it can get unexpected and sometimes weird, but in a good way.”
Earlier this year, Jon and Roy toured West and Central Europe, and are heading back to the continent soon to promote The Road Ahead is Golden. But no matter how far they travel and how much their audience grows, no fans compare to their island fans. “We had someone try to steal a sweater off the stage while we were playing Nanaimo,” Middleton recalls. “It was a nice Cowichan sweater. Our bass player stood on it to try and stop the girl, yet she tried to inch it away, little by little.”
Both Vizer and Middleton were surrounded by music while they were growing up, influenced by Canadian icons like Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, and The Tragically Hip. Middleton started playing the guitar when he was in Grade 7, while Vizer started on the drums in Grade 8. The Road Ahead is Golden is the band’s seventh album, solidifying their recognizable laid-back, west coast flair. “It’s always slowly built for us from percussion, guitar, and vocal to something a little more,” explains Middleton. This album combines the nuances of two previous records, By My Side and Riverside, resulting in a cohesive blend of folk and rock.
The Road Ahead is Golden was the band’s first experience recording in The Woodshop Recording Studio in Duncan (their previous albums were logged with their manager in his studio or in Vancouver). The rural environment was conducive to their production style, allowing them to really focus, and therefore write and record rather quickly. They avoided multiple takes, making the album feel more off-the-cuff, more vulnerable, more natural—even, if it’s possible, more relaxed.
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