Monday, July 16, 2012

Jacob Moon

I had a drink with Jacob Moon the other night.  We met at the West Town Tavern and found a booth at the back.  They were out of Rickard's White, so JM settled for a pot of tea while I had a Rickard's Blonde.  We both made these drinks last a while. 
We talked for a bit about really bad album covers...looking through a book Jacob brought as an ice-breaker.  It's those independent vinyl albums of gospel songs that seem to be the worst. 
Jacob had some questions about the best way to approach a reviewer with new material.  Should he just mail it out, or make an initial request?  I think the request is the best route.  It's what I prefer.  Some people send me an e-mail comparing their music to something they know I like..."My new album sounds like Ry Cooder..."  Well, of course it doesn't.  It might be influenced by Ry Cooder, or have a mandolin part, or a bottleneck guitar, but it won't sound like Ry Cooder.
Jacob asked, "Okay, who would you compare me to?"
I couldn't think of anyone.  Acoustic guitar arrangements, clear tenor voice, melodic songs, maybe some looping...but really I couldn't answer his question.  I had been playing his 2005 CD eventide in the car on the way down and had thought about sounded like...Jacob Moon.  Sure, I guess you could link him to dozens, hundreds of other troubadours, but that's the cheap way out.  First of all he writes songs that are spiritual, singing about God, and it's a God I recognize.  He chooses interesting songs to cover, when he does cover a song.  On eventide he does a Peter Gabriel song "Come Talk To Me", on landing he covers Paul Simon's "Under African Skies"...not your typical covers by any means.  And then there's the most famous thing he's done, a stunning rendition of Rush's "Subdivisions" on 2007's The Loop.  Surely you've seen the video on YouTube.  Rush were so taken by it they had him perform it for their induction into the Canadian Songwriter's Hall of Fame. 
He played it at a concert we hosted at our church, I told him it was the first time a Rush song had been played in that sanctuary.  He laughed.
landing is 10 years old this year, and Jacob is celebrating by releasing a newly recorded version of the same set of songs.  He thinks it will show how the songs have grown and developed, how his style has matured.  Should be out in the fall, and I am looking forward to it.  The original was recorded live and the new one was done the same way at a special couple of shows earlier this year. 
Jacob likes live recordings, this will be his third.  He plays live a lot, he wants to, has to, to maintain his career as a musician.  Somewhere I read that he had played in innumerable Indigo/Chapters stores, but is his music suitable for browsing?  I've seen people playing in these stores, and wondered how they like doing it.  I guess having your audience distracted by the new James Lee Burke book isn't that much different than having them distracted by the lack of Rickard's White on tap tonight.
Listening to Jacob Moon music as I write this I find it beautifully recorded and well-played.  I love the sound of the guitar.  Sometimes at home I will just pick up a guitar and fingerpick chords and riffs for an hour to relax myself.  Music hath charms to sooth the savage breast.  We talked about the healing powers of music.
Jacob released a Christmas album in 2007, and it's a gorgeous collection of classic seasonal songs with an added new one from Jacob's pen.  His most recent release is the EP Maybe Sunshine from 2009.  It's more melodic guitar-based music from a guy who deserves to be heard.  Check him out at

No comments: