One Man Band.
Now add ‘Father of two young boys and one girl’ to that, and you start to get a more complete picture of the man who has found a way to realize his musical dreams on his own terms, without compromise, and still have a life to go home to after the gig.
Jacob Moon considers himself first and foremost to be a singer-songwriter, musically speaking. The songs he has written have gone on to win awards in International Song Competitions (Unisong, Great Lakes Song Contest, West Coast Songwriters, GMA Canada). His songwriting heroes include Jackson Browne, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Peter Gabriel and Rich Mullins, and Moon’s timeless and eclectic style can be compared to those artists, among others. Likewise, his music is hard to pigeonhole, and Moon is okay with that. “My music is born from all the listening I’ve done over the years, and I listen to a lot of different music. 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”, Moon says.
Though not exactly born with a guitar in his hands, Moon’s own father had a 12-string Gibson that made an impression early on. “It just had this huge sound– it sounded like an orchestra to me”, Moon says. That would prove instructive as he approached learning the acoustic guitar in his early teens. “My musical influences at that time were bands like Yes, Rush and Marillion, so I was trying to figure out how to make the guitar sound as big as I knew it could sound from hearing those guys”.
IN THE LOOP:
Once Moon had completed his musical training at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, ON, he began recording and trying to find as many gigs as he could to stay alive. Realizing that he needed something that would set him apart from other performers, Moon began experimenting with ‘live looping’ technology–a foot-pedal that triggers the instantaneous recording of his guitar while he’s playing live. This gave Moon a whole new palette to paint with musically, and he has gone on to be one of the leading Loopers on the scene.
His popular live-looping music videos on YouTube recently gained attention on a national level, when rock legends Rush asked Moon to perform at the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala. Geddy, Neil and Alex insisted that Moon to be there to play ‘Subdivisions’, which he performed on a Hamilton rooftop in his 2008 video (now at over 310, 000 hits). His performance was immediately followed by a standing ovation from his heroes, and that one night has led to some exciting new touring opportunities.
Rush drummer Neil Peart had this to say about Jacob: “We all shared Jacob Moon’s performance of Subdivisions quite a long time ago and sent it to each other, ‘Hey have you seen this?’ because it’s such a beautiful cover. The imaginative way that he uses the little cassette player to get my voice in there. It’s superb. And it is that kind of song. It’s a singer-songwriter’s song. I loved to see his version of it and I loved the idea that song has endured to his generation.”
A week after that performance, Moon and his wife Allison found out that their dream to become adoptive parents was to be a reality and little Gabriel Moon (now age 6) came home to live with them in early May 2010. Gabriel’s little brother Simon (now 5) was next to join the family, and finally did so at Christmas time 2011. “It’s unbelievable how much love and joy these boys have brought to our lives. I’m still working as hard as I ever have, but the reward is now the precious time I get to spend with them. Because of my flexible schedule, that turns out to be a lot, actually”, says Moon. August 2014 – and now Gabriel and Simon’s sister, Amelia, has finally joined the family.
LANDING 2: THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT
For the last 15 years, Jacob Moon has been following his life-long dream of being a full-time musician, songwriter and touring artist. Like a master craftsman, he has spent this time methodically refining his skill as a solo performer, and you can hear those formidable talents on display with his latest live recording, out September 2012.
Recorded over two nights at Catherine North Recording Studio in Hamilton (where Moon calls home), the new record is an homage to one made there 10 years ago, 2002’s ‘Landing’. The same songs were performed in a celebration weekend held on May 25/26 2012, and have all been rearranged since, resulting in a sound that is at once familiar and revelatory. This time around, it’s the sound of Moon’s voice that has settled into a groove, worn smooth by years of touring and practice. Besides the redux versions of the original setlist, Moon has added 5 new songs, including covers by such diverse artists as Keane, Bruce Hornsby, Gabe Dixon Band and his mentor and friend Steve Bell. ‘Live a Little’, a new original song, makes its recorded debut on ‘Landing 2’.
‘Landing 2: The 10th Anniversary Concert’ was released digitally and on CD September 2012.
Jacob’s most recent studio effort, ‘Fascination’ was released in November 2013. Let’s talk about one of the reasons behind the album. Jacob has been interested in certain songs over the years in a manner a bit different than most of us. Jacob has wanted to understand the musical thought behind the song and then translate it into something that he could play and convey his connection with, and the meaning, that the song had given him at various points in his life. Jacob talked about this when he started to put together ‘Fascination’ as an album concept last August – A tribute to the artists and certain songs that have made a lasting impression on him as a musician and fan.
Even before putting ‘Fascination’ together Jacob had, as all musicians do, been playing “cover” versions of songs for many years. It is one way of learning to play an instrument and to learn a little about songwriting. As Jacob’s skills developed as both a musician and songwriter he would incorporate his version of a classic song as part of his set list. As I’ve stated before, some of my favorite cover versions of songs are ones that Jacob has given his own special interpretation and arrangement. This continuing effort has also lead to Jacob performing at special tribute events for various artists over the years.
‘Fascination’ also contains a couple of new Jacob Moon songs ‘Is That All You Got’ and ‘Revelation’. 2014 will see more new songs from Jacob’s pen.
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Social justice is something very close to Jacob’s heart, and for many years he has been active in doing fundraiser concerts for many worthy organizations, including: Compassion Canada, International Justice Mission, Mennonite Central Committee, Canadian Foodgrains Bank, and many Christian schools across Canada.
- “Landing” (2002): Folk Artist of the Year, VIBE Awards
- “Eventide”(2005): -5 Hamilton Music Awards nominations
- Inspirational Song of the Year, Song of the month at the Unisong Song contest in Hollywood, CA
- ‘Folk artist of the year’ by the Toronto Independent Music Awards in Oct ’06.
- West Coast Songwriters Award for best Inspirational song (“Just Like You”)
- “This Christmas” (2007) BEST SEASONAL ALBUM 2008 at the CGMA awards.
He has been reviewed in many publications and has received many critical accolades for his work:
“Jacob Moon is an exceedingly gifted and watchable performer….seems completely at home on stage”- Ron Sexsmith, singer-songwriter
“Tremendous command of the instrument…amazing voice. I can honestly say that I am overwhelmed by his music.” Danny Miranda, bassist for QUEEN
“Every once in a while a voice just leaps out at you…and that’s what happened when we heard Jacob Moon” – Shelagh Rogers, CBC Personality.
“…perhaps the best showcase for this local singer-songwriter, whose well-honed pop sensibilities, bright and tuneful voice and clever guitar work belie his youth. The songs are remarkably strong and graceful.” – Greg Quill,Toronto Star
“Jacob Moon is one of the finest singer-songwriters to emerge on the local music scene during the past decade. That much is abundandtly clear on listening to his new album, Landing.” – The Record
“Jacob Moon’s Landing is both moving and brilliant recorded over three nights this past May at Catherine North Studios in front of a live audience, for the most part capturing one powerful voice, six deftly played strings and a dozen heartfelt songs.” – VIEW magazine