Jacob Moon | Maybe Sunshine
November 1, 2009
Dr. Kent: My next guest on the show is musician, Jacob Moon. So we’re going to listen to a song from him, and get him on the line, and we’ll talk to him about his music. The song is called, ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.’ So let’s listen to that, and when we come back, he’ll be on the line, and we’ll talk to him about his music. Here we go: Jacob Moon, ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.’
Dr. Kent: That’s a beautiful song by Jacob Moon called, ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.’ It’s off of one of his older albums. He’s got a new project coming out very soon, and it’s called, ‘Maybe Sunshine.’ Welcome to the show, Jacob.
Jacob Moon: It’s great to be with you.
Dr. Kent: What a beautiful sound. Tell me about your style a little bit. There’s a great clip on your site, of course, where you show how you play a little bit on the roof. You’re a fantastic guitar player, and you’ve got some interesting techniques. Tell me a little about it.
Jacob Moon: I’ve been playing for a bunch of years by myself. When you do that, it kind of forces you to make some choices about how you’re going to have to approach playing solo: are you going to strum the three chords and sing, or are you going to kind of get interested in some other techniques? For me, really the looping pedal has been something that I started working with about 12 years ago. That’s helped me to fill out the sound a little more, and take some of the other roles that maybe people in a band might take, like the drums, and the bass, and the lead guitar, and put those into my sound to try to make it so that people aren’t too disappointed that they’re only coming to a solo concert, but they’re hearing a few other things to keep things interested.
Dr. Kent: Touring by yourself like that, were you nervous at first? Did you always like it? Have you played with bands?
Jacob Moon: I like playing with bands a lot. It’s a lot of fun. Sometimes it’s hard for me to make the same connection that you can when you’re playing solo, because people can really hear the words, and everything kind of becomes about the vocal and the guitar, and you’re not competing with drums or it’s pretty hard to screw up a mix that only has two tracks. It’s a little easier to make connections with the audience, and that’s always been my goal. My ambition is to really have an intimate audience every night. That’s sometimes hard to do when you’ve got a band behind you.
Dr. Kent: So your music is also often times deeply spiritual. Talk about your songwriting. What’s it been like through the years. How have your songs changed?
Jacob Moon: The songs, they’ve come at various times. Like all songwriters, you write some of your best stuff when you’re going through your hardest times. It takes a lot of effort to sit down and write a happy song. I managed to do that on a couple of songs on the new record, so that’s been kind of cool, because there was some really genuine joy that I was writing out of. The trick is to write in such a way that it communicates that without any of the sugary sentiments that might get in the way of it being received. My songwriting process has always just been sit down, start dreaming aloud on the guitar, come up with some melodies, some chord progressions, some guitar riffs, and then let the vocal sort of arrive. It always does. Sometimes it takes a little longer than other times. It’s a strange thing: you start by singing a line that doesn’t make any sense, which I call a ‘dummy lyric,’ and then that’s just basically standing in until you can find out what the song’s really about. Sometimes you end up going with the dummy lyric because it’s the key and the clue to what the whole song is about. If you follow that lead, you discover kind of like a sculptor would, by chipping away at something, you find out that it actually already has a form, and you’re just discovering it.
Dr. Kent: Cool. Now in terms of the gospel music that you do, what’s the difference in audience between say a House Concert, a church audience, a coffee shop audience? What kind of shows do you do?
Jacob Moon: I play all over the place. I play churches, House Concerts, clubs, coffee houses, theaters. I just kind of let the audience tell their friends, and they tell their friends, and it kind of evolves organically from there. It’s very much a grass roots following that I have. Sometimes people hear me on the radio or see me on television, but by and large it’s by touring that I’m able to keep doing what I do. I play and I try to pay the audience a compliment that they can take whatever music I’m going to throw at them, whether it’s a bluesy style, or a jazzy style, or folk or gospel. It’s all coming from the same guy, and so hopefully that’s kind of unifying, and people are able to find something in that mix that they like, and maybe their ears are attuned to something new they didn’t know they liked. I often find people, older folks, who come away and they like the stuff that I would imagine younger people would have liked even more. I’m pretty sure that they don’t have record collections full of youthful music at home, but they liked what they heard that night. They end up going away with the CD, so it’s kind of cool.
Dr. Kent: You’ve got a blog site that I stumbled across when I was doing some research on you. I have two kids that I sponsor with Compassion, and it looks like you went down and visited down there. Tell me about El Salvador.
Jacob Moon: El Salvador was amazing. It’s just a small little country in Central America that has gone through a lot of war and difficulty and economic problems over the years. It’s a developing country. We went down there to really see what Compassion was doing to help the lives of young children and families in some of the poorer areas of that country. They’re doing a lot. There’s over fifty thousand kids enrolled in Compassion programs every day. That’s an incredible thing when you think even of just that number. All of the kids that we met were so fired up and so full of energy and life. The older ones who were graduating from the program, they had this incredible vision for what they wanted to see their country become, and how they were going to be a part of bringing about change in their families, in their churches, in their communities, and ultimately in their nation. That to me is the best defense you could ever make for whether a program is working or not. I was just really blown away by what they did.
Dr. Kent: People can check out more about that online at your blog site, and there’s a link to that off of your main website: JacobMoon.com. There’s also this deal on your site for your newest album, and I’d like to just for a second ask you about House Concerts. We’re partnering up with Concerts in Your Home folks and featuring a lot of musicians that do House Concerts, and you’re one of them. Tell us about House Concerts and what it’s like to do one, and what it’s like to observe one.
Jacob Moon: The new record’s called ‘Maybe Sunshine,’ and it’s just a six-song EP, but I’ve been preselling it online for the last month or so. If people do order it before next Saturday, then they can receive that copy in the mail. They’ll be among the first who receive it. Also, for as many CDs as they order, they’ll be entered into the draw for a free House Concert. I’ll go anywhere in Canada to do that at this point, because I tour all over Canada. It’s always nice to see different parts of this great country, and I love some of the States as well. It’s always a lot of fun. [Indecipherable] a Canadian contest.
Dr. Kent: So you’re on the road all the time. How many dates a year do you do?
Jacob Moon: Basically, I probably play somewhere around 150 a year, so it’s not too bad. Some guys play a lot more than that.
Dr. Kent: It’s plenty, though. People can check out your profile on JacobMoon.com, and again, I want to put in another plug for Concerts in Your Home, a great little organization where you can find out a whole bunch about some known musicians and some less known. That’s where I first saw your subdivision’s YouTube video.
Jacob Moon: Sorry – you’re breaking up a little bit. I was having trouble hearing you there. I’m on a cell phone.
Dr. Kent: It’s been such a pleasure talking to you. Jacob Moon’s new album, if you go and preorder it from his website: JacobMoon.com, it’s called ‘Maybe Sunshine,’ maybe you can win a free House Concert in Canada. If you are in Canada and listening to the show, that’s awesome. If you’re not in Canada, maybe you should rent a place in Canada just for that House Concert.
Jacob Moon: Absolutely. That would be great. If people want to hear a preview of the new record, they can go to the site, and I’ve got a little mini-podcast up there right now, and it plays some clips from the new songs.
Dr. Kent: Cool, and actually we’ve successfully uploaded a track from the new record, called, ‘Sara.’ Do you want to give us a little [indecipherable] about it?
Jacob Moon: Fantastic. That would be great!
Dr. Kent: Tell us about it.
Jacob Moon: That song there is called ‘Sara.’ It’s all about the sponsored child that my wife and I met when we were in El Salvador. An incredible eight year old girl, full of life, beautiful and funny. We spent the whole day with her at a children’s interactive center in El Salvador and just had a blast. We came into that experience kind of with heavy hearts. Some personal stuff had been going on for us, and we just really needed what she brought, which was joy. She didn’t know what she was doing, but she was lifting our burdens. For that, I thought it was really a good tribute to pay to her to write her that song.
Dr. Kent: It’s such a beautiful relationship that you can have through these sponsorships. It’s extraordinary. I really like Compassion and how they do it. Some of the happiest days are when I get letters from my sponsored kids.
Jacob Moon: Yes, I know. Truthfully, their happiest days are when they get letters from us, and pictures. They keep them in a box under their bed, wrapped up like a Christmas present, and they get really emotional when they think about those letters and what they mean to them. It occurred to me that for some of them, it’s their first contact with unconditional love. I heard the one guy say, ‘Yes, these people on the other end of the world, they don’t even know me, but they love me.’ That meant so much to him, and the light kind of turned on for me, and I thought, wow! There’s something about this relationship that is really redemptive and really beautiful for these kids and for us. I just encourage those who are already sponsoring kids, write them, send them pictures, because it actually makes a huge, huge difference: more than we know.
Dr. Kent: It’s been such an honor to chat with Jacob Moon. ‘Maybe Sunshine’ is the new record, and we’re going to listen to a track from it called, ‘Sara.’ Thank you so much for talking to me today.
Jacob Moon: Thank you so much for calling me, man, and all the best with your program.
Dr. Kent: We’ll talk again sometime.
Jacob Moon: I would love that.
Dr. Kent: Alright, JacobMoon.com. You can go and check out his album, and like I said earlier, and like he mentioned, you can preorder ‘Maybe Sunshine,’ and be entered to win a House Concert in Canada if you’re so inclined. You’ve got to do that before Halloween, October 31st. Let’s listen to a track from that new record, ‘Maybe Sunshine,’ by Jacob Moon, and it’s called, ‘Sara.’ Here we go.
Dr. Kent: And that was the first part of a song by Jacob Moon. It got cut off a little bit there, but such a gorgeous song. You can go and listen to the entire track at JacobMoon.com. Earlier on in the show we listened to ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Alright’ from his earlier album. Of course, there’s also some great YouTube footage that he’s done, where he shows some of his incredible guitar techniques where he layers guitar sounds, one over the other, with a great looping pedal. Well it’s been an honor on the show today to welcome the award-winning author of ‘Skinny Bitch.’ She’s a New York Times bestseller, and of course, the book has done extremely well, selling millions of copies. As she said, Posh Spice has even posed with a copy of it. Of course, it’s a huge hit around the world. Before that we talked with Dr. D.A. Henderson who’s the author of ‘Smallpox: Death of a Disease.’ Fascinating, especially in a time when we’ve been talking so much about H1N1 virus and about vaccines. They’re so important, vaccines. Vaccinate your children. It’s just so important. Before that at the beginning of the show we talked to Glenn Bachman, who wrote, ‘The Green Business Guide.’ He gave us a great insight into how to be green and what being green really means. I really hope green businesses are going to be a profitable model for the new century. At the end of the show, again, we just listened to Jacob Moon and a couple of his songs. I’d like to go out with one more song by Jacob Moon. It’s called, ‘The Great Beyond.’ This is, again, from one of his earlier albums. Check out his website at JacobMoon.com. On the flip side, I’ll be gone. So have a wonderful week, pick up a great book, pick up Jacob Moon’s wonderful CD. He’s got that great special deal online. You might even win a House Concert with him. We’ll see him the next time. Visit me online at SoundAuthors.com. Thank you so much to Jamie and to Amber, the producers on this show, and I’ll see you the next time.