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Tom Moon: From Musician to Critic--And Back Again

By Published: February 8, 2011
Moon had done a self-produced recording with some friends when he was in Miami, more as a tool to help them get gigs. This one was different, and there were very valuable learning experiences along the way. Moon grew to realize more sharply "what an enormous uphill mountain it is to go from one's conception to a disk" that is produced, fine-tuned and then eventually reaches the desk of a journalist for review. "It's easy to forget the amount of time it took for a little CD with 10 songs to climb that mountain. In addition to being a lot of fun, it was eye-opening to the level of: what does an independent artist face when they start."

Going through that has better informed him as a journalist. He doesn't worry so much about categorizing right away recordings that come to him. His priorities for listening are different.

As far as putting himself up for scrutiny by other critics, Moon has no worries. "It's less about apprehension and more about opening discussion about aesthetics and criticism, and what it means to the overall, long-term, protracted conversation about music. ... There's some value in knowing that the person who's reviewing X record actually can communicate through music. I can imagine people who I've reviewed in very severe fashion over the years listening to this and going, 'This makes sense now. I now understand that this is why this guy had such a blind spot on my record. He's obviously dialed into this one little world and doesn't get anything else.' That's not necessarily a fair perception, but at least there's some point, somewhere on the spectrum of music from Bach to Zappa, where I can say, 'This is where I live.' Whether that's useful to somebody who is an artist or not ... I hope it is." In an era where anyone with an opinion can toss it out on the Internet—which often takes the form of glib observations in place of considered, analytical professional criticism—Moon's CD "maybe offers a bit of a window ... that the opinions I arrived at came out of something."

Moon hopes to get gigs to play the new music. He's already written newer music he wants to try out in performance.

"I hope there's more. I think of music as a lifelong pursuit. It's not a get-rich-quick scheme. It's something I want to do. Hopefully, the Fates will align, and I'll be able to do it a little bit, going forward."

Selected Discography

Tom Moon, Into the Ojalá, (Frosty Cordial Records, 2011)

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