If you’re a musician in Canada, there’s a good chance you’ve got something to say about Gordon Lightfoot, the national icon who died last week at the age of 84.
That’s especially true if you got to perform for the legend, as was the case with Jacob Moon, who’s performing May 26 at The Registry Theatre in Kitchener.
An award-winning singer-songwriter, Moon met Lightfoot at a tribute event in Toronto, where he performed Lightfoot’s ‘Ribbon of Darkness.’ That in turn led Lightfoot to invite Moon to perform at Harbourfront where they were celebrating the 40th anniversary of ‘Sundown.’
It’s no surprise, then, that Moon will roll out some Lightfoot at his upcoming show. He’ll also be covering songs from some of his other songwriting influences, the likes of James Taylor and Peter Gabriel. Also on tap are Moon’s own songs, including stuff from his latest album, Under a Setting Sun, his 12th studio offering.
“This is kind of a combination plate of stuff that I’ve released and written lately, and some beloved covers of songs by everyone from James Taylor to Jackson Browne to Gordon Lightfoot to Rush,” he said
“With the passing of Gordon Lightfoot recently, there’s been some featuring my cover of the song ‘Ribbon of Darkness’ on social media, so I’ll be playing that one, for sure. And I did a tribute to James Taylor and Jackson Browne recently, sold out shows, so it’ll be a blast to play all those songs again.
“I’ve got a new album called Under a Setting Sun, so I’ll be playing songs from that one, as well as the 11 albums that come before that one – so, yeah, lots to choose from,” he said with a laugh down the line from his home in Hamilton.
Having been writing and performing for 25 years, Moon has compiled an extensive repertoire since completing his musical training at Wilfrid Laurier University. Realizing early on 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. That 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 live-looping music videos on YouTube gained him attention on a national level, when rock legends Rush asked Moon to perform at the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala, where he played ‘Subdivisions,’ which he had performed on a Hamilton rooftop in his 2008 video.
Over the years, the songs he has written have gone on to win awards, the likes of Unisong, Great Lakes Song Contest, West Coast Songwriters and GMA Canada.
His songwriting shows the influence of the ‘70s troubadors on which he was raised – the likes of Lightfoot, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell – as well as the ‘80s rock and pop on which he cut his teeth.
Moon’s 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,” he notes in his bio of his approach to 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.”
The varied interests and influences continue to shape his own music as well as the set list for any given show.
“It’s kind of what I feel like playing on the night. What I’ve been playing lately, I feel like they have sort of an arc to them in terms of energy... so I tend to think of the sets that way and try and give people enough changeups through the night that it keeps them guessing. Ultimately, there’s something for everyone in the show.”
For The Registry show, Moon will be joined by local favourite Ben Rollo, who’ll get things rolling that night.
For more information, see www.jacobmoon.com.