Jacob Moon has delighted audiences all over Canada and the United States with his unique style of soulful folk performances. He has released three independently produced CDs, including Landing, which earned him a win for "Folk Album of the Year" at the 2004 Vibe Awards. Moon's latest endeavor, Eventide, was released in September and has been receiving critical acclamation ever since.
Where did this extremely gifted Canadian folk songwriter, get his soulfulness from? Listening to old folk and soul music from mom and dad's collection? Nope. "I watched a lot of television as a kid and in the late 70's, there was a real emphasis on funky soulful music on television. Look at Sesame Street; they had this groovy soulful vibe to all the little songs that were helping you learn your letters and numbers. They were really funky sounding like they came from a funk band. I guess I got that funky folk bug early on in life but I didn't know what it was or how to play it until later on."
As Moon grew up, there were other inspirations that brought him to the soul track; "everything from Gospel choirs to Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, metal music, classical music, I'm kind of a freak that way, exploring in a lot of different styles. When I moved to Hamilton, it influenced my sound a lot. Hamilton's music is kind of loose, a little bit organic but being a steel town, it's rough around the edges." This collaboration of different styles has led Moon to an elite genre of music all his own. "It's folk music with an interest in a lot of different sides. Basically, anything I can play on acoustic guitar that includes gospel, folk, jazz and blues, multifaceted music but still rooted in folk music."
Playing the guitar is something that Jacob is well known for, being described as "having great command of the guitar and sounding like an entire orchestra." Jacob himself has "great aspirations for the guitar that aren't limited to anything you can do by just playing with two hands in real time. So I use a thing called a JamMan, not all the time, but I use it on songs where I feel I want to expand the power of a song, for percussion elements or rhythmic elements or melodic elements. You can weave that all together to create a wall for the guitar. That's my aspiration for it (the JamMan) to transcend the traditional view of a solo playing artist. People may have one idea of what a solo artist looks and sounds like but hopefully after seeing a show, that idea is expanded a bit."
And what can audiences expect from a Jacob Moon performance? "My goal is to connect with them, make them feel something, get the emotional content across. In a concert setting, there's a lot to see, to listen to and if you have a lot of lyrics that you're trying to get across, people don't process the words so much as they process the imagery of the words and the feelings behind the way you sang those words. All that stuff comes from your own soul. You just have to dig deep and kind of just bring that forth. That's what I try to do when I play is to lay it all out there and try not to hold back too much. I try to make sure that anything I can give that I am giving at a concert."
Moon is currently on a cross-Canada solo tour but he is very excited about two dates in Ontario where he will perform with his good friend, Mike Janzen. "(Mike) and I are doing a little mini tour right now. We're trying to expand it to a few more dates in Ontario, hopefully in Toronto." Janzen is releasing his own solo album "Beginnings-Live", which Jacob is very proud to have been a small part in the making of. "The only part I helped in is bugging him to make it. It's a killer jazz record. I've been bugging him since I've known him to make this record. So, it's very gratifying to me to finally see it come out. It's great music and my only goal is that more people hear it."
After his Canadian tour wraps up in British Columbia, Moon is planning on "taking a week to basically write music up at Whistler. I'm glad to do a writing retreat up there and hopefully put together some material for the next record. I'm already thinking about that. It always takes a gestation period that can last as much as a year. There's always a batch of songs that you want to end up recording, but you want to live with them, kick them around and play them on stage. You can't just decide you're going to make a record and then just write them one by one. I mean, you can but it just doesn't sound that lived in or authentic so if I want a record next year, I have to start thinking about it right now."
Jacob Moon knows what he speaks of as his current album, Eventide, has already garnered him recognitions from The Hamilton Music Scene Awards, including nominations for Best Male Artist, Best Folk Recording, Male Vocalist of the Year, Guitarist of the Year and Record of the Year.
The two dates for The Mike Janzen Trio and Jacob Moon are:
Friday May 5, 2006 at 8pm at the First Unitarian Church, Hamilton
Saturday May 13, 2006 at 8pm at The Registry Theatre, Kitchener
For more information about Jacob Moon visit www.jacobmoon.com.
Writer: Lisa Kerr