The first time I was introduced to the soulful music of Jacob Moon was back in April of this year when I had the pleasure of conducting an interview with him over the phone. I didn't know much about Moon aside from what I had read and heard on his website. The few songs I heard and our conversation was enough for me to want to see and hear more from this folk singer-songwriter.
Turns out, I chose an impressive evening and venue for my first Jacob Moon experience. The concert was a benefit for the International Justice Mission held at the beautiful Hamilton Place Studio Theatre. This small, intimate setting was ideal for the family, friends and obvious faithful fans of Moon and the Soul Gospel Experience. Starting the evening off with the gorgeous "Beautiful World', the entire ensemble assured us that even though we were there to bring awareness to the atrocities happening in the world, we were also celebrating life.
Welcoming everyone with his heartfelt plea "to remember this important cause," Jacob was at ease with this hometown crowd as he commented on how "nice it was to return home after being on the road for so long." So comfortable was Moon that we were treated to a few new songs he just penned "two months ago at my Aunt's cottage." Jacob crooned his way through the inspirational lyrics of "Great Beyond" and "Not Going to Lose Your Love". Having just his guitar as accompaniment, with the smooth but poignant tones in his vocals, this is Jacob Moon at his best and he really doesn't need anything else.
When the Soul Gospels did return to the stage, Jacob was quick to point out "how nice it was to have a band with him this evening," especially noted was "good friend Mike Janzen", a stellar jazz musician himself. The gospel vibe took over as the group belted out upbeat songs, "We Will Overcome" and "None Of Us Are Free", the later ending with a dramatic keys solo by Janzen.
Whether it was introducing a song with "there's hope in music" or praising Bono for "his work in reducing third world debt," Moon's compassion for the suffering in our world is overwhelming. As he introduced, Jamie McIntosh, executive director of International Justice Mission Canada, his passion for this establishment was clear. McIntosh had the grim task of informing us of the gross injustices to men, women and especially children that are occurring all over the world. IJM has successfully implemented programs and initiatives in such countries as Bolivia to dramatically decrease these atrocities. All the night's proceeds went directly to IJM.
Returning to the stage, Moon continued to amaze with a couple of my favourite tracks from his latest CD Eventide, "The Pearl" and "Just Like You". Not to mention, a very emotional rendition of U2's "Pride, In The Name Love".
A definite bonus of the evening was the enchanting, Chantal Hendricks, who had us all clapping and singing along with her gospel-style performance of two songs from her self titled upcoming album.
Giving a voice to the voiceless was the aspiration for the evening and the voices were absolutely beautiful.
For information on the International Justice Mission Canada visit: www.ijm.ca
For more on Jacob Moon visit www.jacobmoon.com
Writer: Lisa Kerr