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The Mountains and the Trees supported by Paul Handyside - 7 May 2011

Artist's website:

The Mountains & The Trees are/is Jon Janes. He plays guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, harmonica, bells, drums, and sings. One of Exclaim! magazines Top 10 Folk/Country Albums of 2010.

After spending most of his musical career behind the drums, Janes finally came out of hiding (it was a large drum-kit!) and embraced the singer-songwriter inside. Shy at first, he adopted the stage moniker The Mountains & The Trees and has been loving it ever since. Originally a two-piece, it shrunk to a solo act, then grew to a 3-piece, 4-piece, shrunk again to a 2-piece, grew again to a 3-pie... you get the idea. The size of The Mountains & The Trees changes with the weather and, often, with whomever in the crowd is brave enough to step on stage to play and sing along.

Genre-wise, Janes has too many effects pedals for folk, too many banjos for rock-n-roll (if you're wondering how many banjos are too many - it's one). He playfully describes himself as Folk-Pop or Folk-N-Roll. Recordings contain a variety of instruments, such as guitar, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, bells, and drums. Live, Janes backs himself up with the help of some looping-pedals, some deft footwork, and a little luck.

The Mountains & The Trees have released two recordings thus far - Paper Or Plastic EP [2006] and Document [2007]. The former is a 5-song disc recorded on a shoestring budget and delivered in creative packaging (will that be paper or plastic casing?). It features Janes in a variety of roles, instrumentally and vocally, as well as guest appearances by Rick Lambe and Louis MacDonald. The latter is a full-length 15-song acoustic effort, recorded over three night-sessions at Park St. United Church in Corner Brook. Featuring Janes on vocals, guitar, and mouth harp, this disc is an effort to capture a moment in musical form. It comes in a hand-printed case with a photo-postcard and a package of dirt and seeds (please plant them). All this is contained in a vinyl case, hand-sewn with help (and love) by grandma. Document is also a limited-edition release of 90 discs.

"The Mountains and the Trees is really a young musician named Jon Janes who hails from Newfoundland’s Atlantic coast. A talented guitar player who has been blessed with a set of pipes that would send a seraphim into a fit of pique and jealousy, Janes plays the kind of music I’d want my kids to listen to if they ever moved and went off to college. For The Mountains and The Trees play music for those whose ideals have yet to be tarnished by the first compromises and decisions of adult life, so sadly the sentiments expressed in many of Janes’ compositions often leave me in the dust.

The songs on ‘I made this for you’ are simple, true, and unembarrassed at their sincerity. Janes writes and performs convincing coming of age odes that look back at youthful days spent climbing trees, traveling through Europe, and grappling with the disparity between love’s first joy and inevitable anguish. “Fear of Ghosts”, “More and More” and “Sun’s Low” are all great tunes, and if I’d heard them years ago, they would have rarely left my turntable. The playing and singing are wonderful throughout and it’s easy to hear all of the work that went into the album’s creation.

For one so young, Janes displays a rare sense of accomplishment and ability as he convincingly switches back and forth between guitar and a variety of other instruments to layer a state of the art modern folk pop album virtually by himself. The careful insertion of understated horns, strings and percussions into some of the tracks give this album a full and rich sound that is both invigorating and appealing."

Paul Handyside:

Singer songwriter Paul Handyside was founder member of eighties indie group HURRAH! who had several releases on Arista and Kitchenware records. Paul then went on to tour and record with fellow Kitchenware label-mate Martin Stephenson. In 2001 he formed Bronze and released two albums "The statue in the stone " and "A common prayer".

Now solo, Paul's songwriting is a mixture of americana, pop, gospel, folk and 19th century hymns.

"A stunning live show of with sci-fi leaning...At times there's images of both Johnny Cash and Radiohead partying at a folk festival - on the other hand they celebrate the ilk of Neil Diamond and Ry Cooder. Superb."

" years to come, don't be surprised if you see a musical icon declaring this album as an early influence on their career". THE MORNING STAR. Top 10 albums of 2008.

" absolute joy" Q MAGAZINE

"...a rootsy acoustic troubadour with a masterful grasp of his craft." MOJO