For singer-songwriter Jacob Moon, it all started with his father’s 12-string guitar.
“My dad played the 12-string guitar and as a child, I could barely hold onto it. It was so gigantic. I felt like if I could ever master that, I would be big and strong and cool like my dad. So over the years, I kept coming back to guitar.”
He’ll be showcasing his love of guitar and his songwriting skills for the Vernon Folk-Roots Music Society, Friday at the Powerhouse Theatre
It wasn’t until high school that he discovered another reason to play guitar.
“It was mostly a way to get girls to notice me,” said Moon with a chuckle. “But when that didn’t really happen, I decided I’d keep playing guitar because I loved it so much. So I skipped school to practise. I learned guitar solos by all my heroes and along the way, I also tried to learn how to sing. And the first time my heart was broken, I decided to write a song and that’s when the songwriting took hold.”
Moon recalls always being drawn to singer-songwriters. “I listened to people like Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Jackson Brown, James Taylor, you know, troubadours; people who could really sing and play their own songs.”
Moon is still in awe of the songwriting process.
“It’s a mysterious and mystical thing.”
He likens the creative process to being on a riverbank.
“Picture yourself downstream from the bounty that is flowing down the river. If you’re there and open to it, you get it. If you’re not there, maybe someone else gets it. It’s just about bring present to the muse and whatever form it takes.”
Sometimes, a song idea comes from a simple phrase in a conversation.
“It can be a lyric or a phrase. Somebody says something that sticks in my head and I think, ‘Oh yeah, I think I can write a whole song out of that one comment.’”
Although Moon considers himself first and foremost a singer-songwriter, he is also recognized as a master of live-looping, an intricate process where he records what he is playing in real time and plays it back as he is performing, creating a rich, multi-layered, sound.
“For me, live-looping is a way of bringing the layers of a song to life in a way that is impossible by just playing acoustic guitar,” he said. “So you’re recording on the fly and playing it back alongside what you’re playing live on the guitar. It brings rhythmic, melodic and harmonic layers to the song, making them sound fuller, almost like an entire orchestra at times.”
Although live-looping helps to set him apart from other performers, the emphasis is still on the song.
“Expect an evening of story and song. People will get to know me through the course of the evening. I tell some personal stories as I introduce some of the songs I’ve written. Folks will be entertained and uplifted.
“People might think about some topics differently after hearing some of my songs. I might also do a few covers because they quite often make meaningful connections with the audience. And hopefully, everybody will go home with a smile.”
Jacob Moon performs for the Vernon Folk-Roots Music Society Friday, Sept. 30 at the Powerhouse Theatre. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. show. Tickets are $20, $15 for members, at ticketseller.ca, vernonfolkroots.com, Bean Scene (Vernon) or at the door.