Jon and Roy playing the Wav

"It was a very natural process in this way, similar to how we would approach a live show."

Letting go of old ways, looking inwards, finding a sense of freedom.

This is where Victoria folk-rock duo Jon and Roy placed their focus while recording their fourth album, Let It Go (Blue Heron Music/Warner Music Canada). With its laid-back acoustic guitar riffs, toe-tapping rhythms, and made-for-sing-along lyrics, Let It Go will carry listeners straight through to the fall.

Don’t miss Jon and Roy on tour with dates in Alberta and B.C. They come to Cumberland for an Aug. 11 gig at the Waverley Hotel.

The duo went searching for something intangible while recording Let It Go, and suffice it to say, they found it. Freedom — from artistic constraints, from audience expectations — became a recurring theme for the pair during the creation of the new album.

If there was one rule for longtime friends and collaborators Jon Middleton (guitar/vocals) and Roy Vizer (drums/percussion), it was to have no rules at all.

“We felt much more free on this album,” says Middleton. “It was a very natural process in this way, similar to how we would approach a live show.”

The result of that feeling of freedom is a laid-back sounding, but catchy record, with enough diversity to have listeners putting the album on repeat. Right from the first strums of Middleton’s acoustic guitar in album opener Mountain Town, through to the instrumental-filled Time Of Dyin’, fans will be hard-pressed to find a track that doesn’t make them want to tap their toes and hum along.

The upbeat riff in Vibrant Scene, and ska-infused horns on title track Let It Go, perfectly balance out the mellower, lazy afternoon style songs like Kesey.

Some artists wouldn’t dare touch a winning streak that resulted in gigs with Finley Quaye, Mother Mother, Damien Jurado, Bahamas and Hannah Georgas, among others. Fewer still would risk a reputation that has warranted appearances at some of the most established and popular folk festivals in Canada, including Winnipeg, Vancouver, Calgary, and Ottawa’s Bluesfest.

Despite their considerable success as an independent act (a tour of the U.K. with Buck 65, tours of Canada with The Cat Empire and Xavier Rudd) the music-making process, above all else, is what continues to drive Jon and Roy.

Tickets are available at Bop City, the Waverley Hotel or by phoning 250-336-8322. Waverley doors open at 9:30 p.m.

— Cumberland Village Works