A chance encounter at a Salt Spring Island cafe in British Columbia brought the dynamic musical duo behind indie-folk band Ocie Elliott together. We love a good local community meet cute. Bringing together Jon Middleton of well-loved Vancouver Island indie-folk reggae band Jon and Roy and vocalist Sierra Lundy. Jon and Roy being a band we’ve long followed, and enjoyed celebrating in our last Live Session as they performed The Right Groove out in nature.
The Ocie Elliott sound is equal parts laid back and captivating. One that is accompanied by a natural intimacy and has seen a rapid gain in popularity over the last two years. Touring with the likes of Kim Churchill and Sons of the East, across Canada, the US, and Europe. But it’s their consistent return to the forests and waterways of Vancouver Island. And their spontaneous first meeting rooted in our local scene, that made them an easy and exciting choice for our ecologyst Live Sessions. Championing like-minded musicians from our community, and those inspired by British Columbia’s stunning landscapes.
For their new release Tracks, the spot couldn’t have been more apt. The duo took their place on abandoned train tracks near Victoria as we captured them performing in nature, inspired by nature. Jon wears our iconic 5-panel Sitka Camp Cap in Tan with our certified organic cotton Work Henley in Green. While Sierra sings in our naturally water-resistant organic cotton Ventile Bucket Hat. And our seriously soft but durable organic cotton Athletic Work Tee in Black.
There’s a playful atmosphere in their performance. One which has also no doubt contributed to the popularity of their own Honda CR-V sessions. A series that’s been released weekly on their Instagram feed during the past few months. Giving their fans the opportunity to submit requests for covers and bring a little musical lightheartedness to isolation. Covering the likes of Simon and Garfunkel, Billie Eilish, Caamp, Jonny Cash, and Lana Del Ray to name but a few.
Their swift popularity is unsurprising with a successful career spanning 15 plus years on Jon’s side. Lundy’s father had long hinted at the potential of a musical career for her, but it wasn’t until this coming together of the two talents that this path was truly forged. Middleton doesn’t stray too far from what he’s clearly so good at. The indie-folk genre, his acoustic guitar, and compelling vocal inflections. Inspired by natural elements and the journeys of his life both literal and figurative.
Add to this Lundy’s beguiling voice, and of course that repeated notion of their natural intimacy that comes about in intricate but seemingly effortless harmonies. Dictated in such a way as to bring goosebumps to listeners. The result of their commitment to, and enjoyment of, making the time to explore how their two voices could come together. Exploring themes of love and connection. And through both the lyrics and instrumental accompaniment, a grounding quality to their sound that’s reflective of their time spent in nature.
On their website a fan accurately describes them as “...the aural equivalent of indigo painted skies and the first summer stars." A soundtrack that partners perfectly with an outdoors-laden summer. Middleton is also known for taking time spent away from distractions and the clutter of daily life on hikes where inspiration hits. A creative method and (re)connection to the environment we can undoubtedly get behind. And relate to.
Their recording spots have taken these themes further — time spent on our British Columbia coastline in places like Tofino and Ucluelet. Exploring back roads and waterways in their Honda CR-V. Spending time deep in the forest; recently performing Rivers and Roads in a Treehouse. And the forest feels and coastal locations seep into their music videos too. Often created by their local friend and talent, Rupert Walker.
Songs like Forest Floor and Down by the River are just two of many titles that clearly reflect the natural elements that inspire their music. And when it’s not directly our local biodiversity itself that’s present in their lyrics, it’s their adventures. With new song Tracks, performed for our Live Session, a documentation of a trip they took a number of years ago:
“This song describes a trip we did a couple of summers ago with a few friends, where we walked the abandoned railway tracks from our home city of Victoria to a town called Shawnigan Lake, where Jon is from. It took us two days and it was such an epic adventure, that we had to write a song about it.”
Ready for more Ocie Elliott? New album In That Room was released just this past March. And you don’t have to wait long for the exciting news of an upcoming four song acoustic EP—out on July 17th. Find their music on all streaming platforms here. And keep an eye out for another outdoor Live Session from us with them too. In a new location with a new outdoors-inspired tune.
If you missed our previous sessions with Jon and Roy and Ashleigh Ball, you can go give some local music love to them on our YouTube channel. Join our community on Instagram and Facebook to be first to know of new launches. And sign up to our email below for behind-the-scenes insights from ecologyst, special updates, and offers.