Music has been used as an educational tool for centuries, dating back to early civilizations whose knowledge was passed on via oral musical traditions. We still use many of the same techniques today to engage people of all ages in opening their minds to new ideas. Singer-songwriter Jason Garriotte’s (a.k.a. Chords of Truth) recent single, “Moon Time,” exhibits that upbeat, accessible folksy charm that would captivate a group of children today while reminding elders that folk music has always been a means for broadening listeners’ understandings of our world.
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Garriotte’s apparent objective with “Moon Time” is to question the use of our Gregorian calendar system as opposed to the more nature-attuned 13 Moon calendar. On his website he writes, “everything from the tides to female menstrual cycles are affected by the moon, so why are we not living according to this framework?” The lyrical content of the song follows this logic, and is more informative than expressive, describing various aspects of the moon’s cycles in a somewhat veiled manner in the first verse, only to be followed by the chorus, “We’re talking about Moon Time, Moon Time, Moon Time has rhythm and Rhyme.” Garriotte’s deliberate, matter-of-fact style of writing, along with the simple chord structure, makes it feel like the song would be equally welcome in a school classroom or around a campfire.
The instrumentation on “Moon Time” is minimal with Garriotte on guitar and vocals, producer Jeff Joslin on piano and vocal harmonies, and Michael Hagen on drums. The track’s sound is obviously acoustic and folk music is supposed to be somewhat raw, but this sounds almost like a home recording, particularly in the piano track. It almost seems as if the song would work with just the guitar and drums combination like in the opening measures. At the very least, the mixing of the piano could have been improved. Ultimately, Garriotte’s warm, measured vocal delivery carries the track and is aptly the focal point throughout, making us consider his lyrics more than the rough mix or stagnant chord cycle.
If listeners put on “Moon Time” expecting a song with pristine production value, virtuosic performances, or trailblazing compositional techniques, they might be disappointed. If, however, people are looking for an easy-going, endearing track that raises questions about our natural world, they’ll be in luck. With “Moon Time,” Chords of Truth continues to carry on the folk tradition of vocal-driven, thought-provoking music.