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Jon Middleton and Roy Vizer each brought something new to the sessions for Riverside, their sixth recording as the acclaimed roots/folk rock band Jon and Roy.

Vizer, a trained percussionist, treated himself to a traditional drum set — not his typical studio path. “I put down the hand drums completely,” he said. “This was us trying to push it a little bit.”

Middleton also went off script. For the recording sessions at Greenhouse Studios in Vancouver, where records by Sarah MacLachlan, Matthew Good, K.D. Lang and 54-40 among others have been recorded, the singer-songwriter used a semi-acoustic guitar. He played the vintage 1947 Gibson L4 hollow body (on loan from the band’s manager) during each of the seven songs on Riverside, eschewing an acoustic guitar for the first time ever on a Jon and Roy recording.

The sound of amplification took some getting used to for all involved. But while it produced a revamped sound, adding more dynamics to the group’s already-upbeat folk stylings, nothing endangered the Jon and Roy trademarks: Vizer’s intuitive timekeeping, Middleton’s haunting, original voice, and the easygoing synchronicity of the longtime friends and musical partners.

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