The Mountains & The Trees
Gig Seeker Pro

The Mountains & The Trees

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Solo Folk Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Grayowl Point"

Had it not been for my own idiocy and my inability to use Twitter effectively, this review would have been up a month ago. Literally. But here it is now, hopefully none the worse.

This four-song, thirteen-minute EP from Newfoundland’s The Mountain and the Trees (aka Jon Janes) takes the listener on a huge emotional trip in a very short length of time. It really whets my appetite for a full-length album in the near future. The genre of the music is a in interesting mix of folk and rock, which Janes likes to call “Folk N’ Roll.”

The album begins with “Up & Down” which is decidely sombre in mood. It seems to speak about a relationship past, especially evident in the lines “Some days you’re happy/Other days I’m sad/I try not to think about what we could have had/Live for the moment/Never the past.” The song’s musical base is a simple guitar chord, accompanied by the odd xylophone.

The next song is “Hospital View” which suddenly jumps into a bit more upbeat territory despite the misleading title (I suppose hospitals can be good places too!). Even though the song does talk about someone leaving and not coming back to visit, the song’s horn section still makes the song more happy, especially after “Up & Down” depresses the hell out of you.

“Apartment Song” is easily the happiest of the four songs. It starts with a cheerful rendition of the colours of the narrator’s apartment, followed by a description of the neighbours and the neighbourhood. It features a simple guitar rhythm, a strings section which really seems to represent Janes’s home in St. John’s. “I love my place in life/It just gets a little cold sometimes” is an interesting chorus for the song which adds the possibility of everything not being so rosy.

Finally, “Goodbye Little Town” returns to a sombre mood, which is the story of one leaving their town that they love and grew up in to move on in life. I could really feel the sadness in the lyrics, as goodbyes seem to never be anything but tearful.

With such a small amount of material, Janes covers a lot of emotional ground, and this makes this great listening.

Top Tracks: “Up & Down”; “Apartment Song” (although they’re all great)

3.5 Hoots (out of 4) - Michael

"Upon This Rock (CHMR)"

"The Mountains and The Trees aren't afraid to break down the barriers of what "acoustic" music can encompass and are worth the live experience."

Kevin Kelly, Host CHMR's Upon This Rock - Kevin Kelly


Right out of the gate, we have one of Newfoundland's best kept secrets (outside of Ches' Fish & Chips I guess). Jon Janes - aka The Mountain & The Trees - released his folky four-song EP Hop, Skip, & A Jump to get his name out and the results are impressive.

Janes goes for subtlety over sizzle, but don't mistake his delicate picks and strums for uninspired or tired. The arrangements on this EP rise and fall like a slow beating heart and the folk elements are balanced with whimsy (like the little horn that concludes the observation filled Apartment Song) and depth. Whether it's the banjo that kick starts the tender Up & Down or the strings and horn work that swoop over the touching Hospital View, Janes seems to prefer contrasting elements in a way that makes his songs stretch as far as your eye can see, but still remain as personal as the most hushed 4-track confession.


Voted #2 EP of 2009. - Herohill

"The New Spin"

“In the likes of indie-folk icons Iron and Wine or Yo La Tengo’s quieter moments, listening to The Mountains and The Trees’ innovative blend of acoustic guitar and banjo is like wading in a sea of serenity.” – Dashiell Brown, The New Spin

“Invoking quiet folk and looped acoustic guitar phrases, The Mountains and The Trees soothes like a hot mug of lemon and honey, it will calm your every nerve.” – Dashiell Brown, The New Spin - Dashiell Brown

"CBC Radio"

"The toe-tappin' folk-pop of TM&TT's catches your attention with it's simple charms, but hooks you with classic melodies that take you back to campfires, and more innocent times. Like nature, these guys are fun without the flash, captivating though never showing off. The kind of music you'd want to hear with a big crowd of old friends you haven't seen in years." - Zach Goudie

"Canadian Musician Magazine"

Where: St. John’s

What: Crust Folk


Who knew folk music could be so exciting?

While The Mountains & The Trees may play as a group from time to time, for all intents and purposes, the collective is the brainchild of St. John’s, NF’s Jon Janes.

The band’s use of banjo, guitar, mandolin, harmonica, bells, and drums comes together to create lovely lo-fi folk that could only have occurred thanks to artists such as Hayden, Iron & Wine, and Julie Doiron, who showed that it’s completely possible to be young and hip while still wanting to write music that fits best in a log cabin next to a wood stove or by a campfire on Victora Day long weekend.

At times, the band’s songs are extremely minimalist, while at others, a full range of instruments and vocal harmonies work their way in. At first listen, one can’t predict what direction a song will take. What’s great is that this adventurous quality persists through repeated listens.

The Mountains & The Trees have to date released two recordings – 2006’s Paper Or Plastic EP and 2007’s The Document. Janes also threw together a free promo EP called Hop, Skip & A Jump to coincide with the 2009 East Coast Music Awards.

Ben Conoley is a freelance journalist living in Fredericton, NB. He has written for chartattack, Exclaim!, Alternative Press, and more. Ben is also a proud member of the Polaris Music Prize jury. - Ben Conoley

"Exclaim! Magazine"

Golly, this is a nice one. The Mountains & the Trees are Corner Brook, NL singer-songwriter Jon Janes joined by a rotating cast of musicians known as the Valleys & Seas Orchestra. On vocals, guitar, banjo, melodica and glockenspiel, Janes is the heart and soul of the operation. His thoroughly modern folk style combines traditional instrumentation with subtle but perfectly integrated effects. There's a disarming sense of openness in his gentle vocals and a sweet naïveté in his lyrics; his observations about the mundane details of everyday life ― neighbours, kitchens, sunny days ― are grounded in a worldview that is deceptively simple but offers perceptive on and insight into the subjects of life, love and the pursuit of happiness. With work on a full-length album already underway, and plans to tour extensively in the spring, you'll want to keep an eye out for the Mountains & the Trees over the coming months. (Independent) - Rachel Sanders

"Paste Magazine"

NXNE: The Best So Far

The Mountains & The Trees - Being a singer-songwriter at a massive music festival has got to be a tough gig. Unlike lots of the louder acts, it often takes a performer like Jon Janes a bit more time to grab the attention of an audience. Janes had a couple big advantages over most of his fellow acoustic musicians when taking the stage at the Gladstone Hotel Thursday night. First, he had a ringing endorsement and introduction from Craig Norris of CBCRadio3. Secondly, he had the song "Goodbye Little Town," a simple ballad about leaving his tiny hometown in Newfoundland. Written like a bittersweet break-up song and backed only by multi-instrumentalist Jillian Freeman and his own simple guitar line, the song feels just like home, and what it feels like to leave it. - Kevin Keller

"CBC Radio 3"

"The Mountains & The Trees - the best singer-songwriter I have heard in Canada for a long while" - Grant Lawrence (CBC Radio 3)

Reached #3 on the R3-30 Countdown.

#65 on the R3-103 - Top 103 Songs of 2009. - Various

"Quick Before It Melts"

When it comes to choosing what to kick back and relax to, I’ve certainly been in a singer-songwriterly mood lately. Jon Janes of St. John’s, Newfoundland couldn’t get anymore singer-songwriterly, being the sole member/instrumentalist/vocalist behind The Mountain & The Trees. Janes plays guitar, banjo, ukulele, harmonica, bells, suitcase, whistles, hums, and sings. He probably does the dishes and the windows, too. If he keeps house anything like he makes music, then I’m certain he lives in a pristine and exquisitely arranged abode. Janes/The Mountain & The Trees is often backed-up by the Valleys & Seas Orchestra featuring a collective of friends with a variety of instruments, fleshing out alt-country, folk-pop orchestrations. Just one listen to the delicate flourishes throughout “Up & Down” and the controlled, contemplative way the song blossoms to life from the same simple, repeated refrain is enough to hook you into Janes’ expansive musical universe.

The Mountain & The Trees traveled to Toronto this past June for North By Northeast, and Janes–accompained by Jill Freeman on guitar, bells, and vocals and Paddy Byrne on bass–is bringing the band west again to revisit the city for the Canadian Music Café at the Hard Rock Café on Yonge Street as part of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The band will be joined by the likes of Hawksley Workman, Amy Millan, Ruby Jean & The Thoughtful Bees, The Duhks, and Arkells. It’s an excellent opportunity for our homegrown talent to get the showcase treatment for music supervisors, executives, producers, directors and media from around the world. I could certainly imagine “Up & Down” as part of the hip soundtrack to some arty, independent dramedy set in Buffalo mid winter, starring Seymour Philip Hoffman and Laura Linney. No not that one, another one.

The Mountain & The Trees will have an EP available mid-September; Hop, Skip & a Jump will be in better record shops and online in the next few weeks. It’ll be in your head for a long time to come, though, on that I’d bet my bottom dollar. - Jim Di Gioia

"The Telegram"

"Music to move mountains ... and trees"

Jon Janes making his mark on music industry

Multi-instrumentalist Jon Janes is the driving force behind The Mountains and The Trees. - Submitted photo
Multi-instrumentalist Jon Janes is the driving force behind The Mountains and The Trees. - Submitted photo

Jon Janes is proof that ingenuity and a little determination can go a long way in the music biz.

As sole musical proprietor of The Mountains and The Trees, the 25-year-old singer and multi-instrumentalist from Pasadena is amassing a sound bigger than the band itself - due in part to his loop and layer technique, but also to the fact that the band, at times, is Janes, his floral design suitcase drum, and a handful of instruments.

With recent performances at the North By Northeast indie music festival in Toronto, the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival in St. John's, and upcoming gigs at the Toronto International Film Festival and Canadian Music Week 2010, Janes and his music are garnering some welcomed attention.

Having birthed a number of semblances since its 2006 inception, The Mountains and The Trees began its recent storm of the St. John's music scene in the form of a folk-pop trio featuring bassist Paddy Byrne and singer-guitarist Jill Freeman.

Speaking to The Telegram after the band's performance at the folk festival Sunday afternoon, Janes' disposition is relatively subdued given the recent onslaught of big-gig invites.

A self-promoter and manager of his own accord, he doesn't acknowledge luck as a variable - not even a little bit of luck.

"For every larger gig I get there's probably two or three that I don't," says Janes.

"It's all about understanding that you can't have everything all the time, at once. You've got to pace yourself and just keep trying."

Citing Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden as a major influence, Janes opts for a folky approach to his music, penning lyrics about relationships, life events like leaving a small town and moving into a new apartment in the city, and, as his stage name might suggest, nature.

On first listen, his melancholic tone might be best suited to stories of heartbreak and sadness, but as many of the songs unfold into layers of looping instruments it fastens into a unique union of voice and music that has become a distinct Mountains and Trees sound.

To keep his musical ventures interesting and challenging, Janes says he takes the same approach to playing as Calgary indie musician Chad VanGaalen, continually picking up new instruments rather than devote his time solely to his guitar, mandolin or banjo.

"I'll never be quite the banjo player that Tom Power is, or quite the guitar player that Duane Andrews is," he says.

"Actually, I've never really even called myself a guitar player. I started playing drums, but it's just one of those things where it's an effort to give a full and unique sound, and to give the audience something different to come see.

"I've got four limbs. Why can't I use them all?" he laughs.

The first recording from The Mountains and The Trees emerged as an EP in 2006 called "Paper or Plastic," followed by "Document," a studio session featuring Janes, his acoustic guitar and harmonica.

A Music NL demo grant in December 2008 led to the band's most recent effort, "Hop, Skip, and a Jump," a four song EP that Janes has been handing out at concerts.

The next step is a full-length record that he and the band plan to take to the East Coast Music Award festivities next year in Cape Breton, where they hope to perform.

"I want to take my time with this," he says.

"One of my favourite albums is Hayden's 'In Field & Town' and that took three years to make. I'm not saying I want to take three years, but it wouldn't be unreasonable to take a season or two."

If the determination that helped land Janes the handful of festival and industry gigs works pulls through on the next album, which he says he doesn't have the funding for yet, then it's likely The Mountains and The Trees will be a name to look out for on the local and mainland music scenes.

The Mountains and The Trees host Folk Night at The Ship tonight. Show time is 9 p.m.

For more information, visit the band's web site at

The Telegram - Justin Brake


2011 - Carry On [Single]
2010 - I Made This For You
2009 - Hop, Skip, & A Jump
2007 - Document
2006 - Paper Or Plastic EP



The Mountains & The Trees

The Mountains & The Trees are/is Jon Janes. He plays guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, harmonica, bells, drums, and sings. He is often accompanied by the Valleys & Seas Orchestra featuring a collection of friends on a variety of instruments. The live show has grown to become a very intimate thing, involving a mixture of storytelling and songs that engage the audience on a personal level and leave them with a warmth in their heart and a smile on their face.

The Mountains & The Trees released a four-song EP, titled Hop, Skip, & A Jump, during the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. It was followed in August of 2010 by the debut full-length album I Made This For You, which received much critical acclaim. Both releases are distributed in Canada via Outside Music.


* I Made This For You debuted at #1 on the earshot! folk/roots/blue national chart.
* Up & Down and More & More & More charted at #3 and #4, respectively, in CBC Radio 3 charts
* Goodbye Little Town used in an episode of “The Border” (CBC); More & More & More used in an episode of “Degrassi” (CTV).
* Radio play from around the world including CBC, BBC, and NPR. Notable plays from Here & Now (CBC) and Bob Harris (BBC)
* Has toured and supported many acts including Billy Bragg, Woodpigeon, Dan Mangan, and Horse Feathers, and played at major festivals such as NXNE, CMW, Halifax Pop Explosion, End of the Road, Reeperbahn Festival, and Liverpool Soundcity.
* Completed 2 successful UK/EU tours including shows in England, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Switzerland, and France, as well as 4 Canadian tours.
* Upcoming May/June UK/EU tour with stops at Camden Crawl (UK), The Great Escape (UK), and Walk The Line (NL).

Selected Quotes

"The Mountains & The Trees - the best singer-songwriter I have heard in Canada for a long while" - Grant Lawrence (CBC Radio 3)

“If [Janes] keeps house anything like he makes music, then I’m certain he lives in a pristine and exquisitely arranged abode. [He’ll] be in your head for a long time to come, though, on that I’d bet my bottom dollar..” - Jim Di Gioia,

"Janes goes for subtlety over sizzle, but don't mistake his delicate picks and strums for uninspired or tired. Janes seems to prefer contrasting elements in a way that makes his songs stretch as far as your eye can see, but still remain as personal as the most hushed 4-track confession." - Bryan Acker,

In addition to the above, The Mountains & The Trees has been mentioned in Paste, Exclaim!, and on No Depression.

Band Members