Known for his giftedness as a singer/songwriter of terrifically-crafted pop and folk songs, Hamilton-based Jacob Moon plays After the Grind in Blackfalds on Oct. 24th.
Showtime is 7 p.m.
Moon is also a master of the art of ‘live looping’, a performance style where he records what he’s playing in ‘real time’ and layers sound on top of sound for a fuller sonic experience.
But first off, a passion for music was sparked early on.
“For me, like a lot of people, I listened to music all the time. But I didn’t know that I would end up playing it until my sister got a guitar, and my dad had a guitar – there were guitars around the house,” he told the Express. “I think when you are a kid, when you see someone doing something, you think you can do it, too. So I jumped on it.”
During his teens, he started penning his own tunes, plus he played with a number of bands as his own skills flourished and his singing voice started to develop and mature as well.
Early influences ran the gamut from James Taylor to Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel.
He also studied music at Wilfrid Laurier University which at first proved a tad intimidating. “When you go to a big school like that, everyone who goes and gets accepted has been playing since they were four,” he laughed. “I was there thinking, man, why do they want me here?”
After earning his degree, he really started exploring all kinds of genres after being largely in a classically-based world.
And to this day the array of influences he has so deeply appreciated over the years continue to find their way into his records. Such eclecticism makes his music tough to pigeonhole, but Moon is just fine with that.
“In a way it makes sense that what comes out would be a mash-up of all those different influences, and tough to pin a style on,” he said. “It’s evolved over the years – I think I am such a culmination of random styles. It comes out as ‘me’, but it’s really me borrowing from so many influences over the years from jazz to folk to classical to rock-based stuff and straight-up pop.
“I always try to pay my audience a compliment in that they can hear all of this and sort through it to find the stuff that they like,” he added. “It doesn’t have to be such a pre-packaged, genre-specific presentation. It can just be about a human who has had experiences and distilled them into songs,” he explained.
As to the ‘live looping’, it certainly adds a richness and a compelling depth to his performances.
Through the looping, Moon utilizes a foot-pedal that triggers the instantaneous recording of his guitar while he’s playing live. “There’s a bunch of things happening at once but it’s because of this obsessive need I have to try and bring that whole experience down to ‘one person, one instrument’ – and to make it good and exciting. That’s always been the thrill.”
His popular live-looping music videos on YouTube have also garnered attention on a national level, when rock legends Rush asked Moon to perform at the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala.
Meanwhile, the accolades just keep coming, including ‘Inspirational Song of the Year and Song of the Month at the Unisong Song contest in Hollywood; ‘Folk artist of the year’ by the Toronto Independent Music Awards in 2006, the West Coast Songwriters Award for best Inspirational song (Just Like You) and Best Seasonal Album for This Christmas in 2008 at the CGMA Awards.
“For me, I’m always in search of the perfect musical experience, for myself and for my audience,” he said reflectively.
“I’m trying to get better all of the time – to get more limber and be able to pivot in the moment and to just say ‘yes’ to every situation. I’m also trying to become more authentic and to perfect the things that are both working musically and are connecting with the audience.”
Tickets for Moon’s concert in Blackfalds are available in advance at After the Grind or at the door.