Evening Hymns is the solo project of Toronto-based Jonas Bonnetta, who will perform at Pop Montreal along with fellow Toronto bands Forest City Lovers and The D’Urbervilles. All three bands are wonderful representatives of the burgeoning Toronto music scene. Evening Hymns, however, does not sound like Toronto. And that’s a good thing. Bonnetta’s upbringing in rural Ontario probably contributes to the soothing, ethereal, and naturally spiritual sound at work in his music. The vocals (often his own harmonies) sometimes take a backseat to the lush build-up of guitar and synth, but at times they echo brilliantly over minimal accompaniment.
Evening Hymns’ debut album is called Spirit Guides, and the band has recently been touring in Europe after signing with French label Kutu Folk Records. “This is something I never would have imagined I’d get to do, so it’s definitely a big highlight for us,” Bonnetta said of the past year. “Cedars” is a magical song from the album that features a haunting flute melody weaving its way through devastating lyrical terrain. Other songs like “Lanterns” include gradually building brass and other orchestral elements. Bonetta had helpers to put it together – James Bunton of Ohbijou, for one, who recorded and produced the album. “[Bunton] has definitely been a huge reason our record got made and that we are out here doing what we’re doing,” Bonnetta said, but he also acknowledged the support of countless other bands such as The Wooden Sky.
Evening Hymns completed a tour of western Canada earlier this year, which allowed them to explore many gorgeous Canadian locales and meet many people. “Touring Canada and France is so entirely different yet so equally gratifying. I feel really lucky to be able to do this right now,” mused Bonnetta.