Jacob Moon is a performing songwriter who often explores beyond his own catalogue. Jacob just released a cover of the Bruce Hornsby classic “The Way It Is” on YouTube. Here’s our conversation with Jacob Moon about his take on this tune.
What led you to record this song, versus one of your own?
I recorded this one on a day when we were recording a bunch of songs for the camera, including my own songs (Great Beyond, Live a Little). We did it at QED Studios in Toronto, and it was just a relaxed vibe where I felt I could try anything. So we just went for it, and it worked.
I have a strong sense of justice in me, and this song is like a kind of quiet anthem for justice. ‘that’s just the way it is…oh, but don’t you believe it’…I mean that line really speaks to where the change needs to happen. It’s internal. It’s all about what we believe—about human dignity, about equality in the sight of our creator, about moral issues in our day. Once we decide what we believe about those things, change will come, because we are changed.
That last verse in the original addressed issues of race equality and Affirmative Action, and contained references that were unique to where Hornsby grew up. And these things were partly addressed in verse 2 already. I wanted to add in something new, something that was current. It’s like, “what injustice do we face today in North America?”.
For me, this song was made for issues like what’s happening in the economy and on the markets over the past few years. So I wrote something that brought a critique of these investment practices that have ruined the fortunes of so many, because I don’t believe the right people are being punished for these actions.
I said hi to him after a show he played in Buffalo. He’s great, and very friendly.
I just try to augment what’s already there by bringing the arrangement to a scale that will flatter the lyric a little more, while still keeping what’s essentially cool about the music. Sometimes that’s a lick, or a chord change. Everything else is up for grabs, though, and I certainly make changes to suit my playing style and my ‘live looping’ approach to live performance.
I am working on some new arrangements, and digging into some original songwriting, with an eye to releasing a record for the Canadian folk market sometime this year. And as always, lots of youtube videos still to come in 2012. It’s a great way to say hello to potential new fans, in a way that feels complete and personal. For me, it’s all about communication, in whatever medium works for people.
Check out What a Rush! – our feature on Jacob Moon from 2010.