For the small but mighty band of friends and fans lucky enough to make up the audience at Jess Moskaluke’s live performance at YouTube Space Toronto on Nov. 3, it was a night they won’t soon forget.
Hosted by Paul McGuire, the Juno and Canadian Country Music Association award-winner dazzled the crowd with selections off her newest album, Past the Past, along with some tried-and-true favourites.
Kicking off the night with Drive Me Away, it was clear from the start the evening was going to involve its fair share of backup dancers and vocals, as one glance around the room found everyone singing or swaying along, with Moskaluke leading the way.
“I love this, I feel like it’s just a big bunch of friends hanging out right now,” she said with a laugh. “It’s live, it’s great.”
The fact her appearance had somewhat of a full-circle-feel couldn’t have been lost on the singer — after all, she essentially got her start on YouTube, garnering thousands of followers with country covers. These days, aspiring musicians from across the country are covering her songs.
“The thing is, I didn’t grow up thinking I was going to be a country singer someday . . . this kind of came later on for me, so I never could’ve thought that any of these things would happen.”
Now, with three back-to-back wins for CCMA Female Artist of the Year, along with a 2017 Juno Award for Country Music Album of the Year, it’s safe to say she’s come a long way.
And while she described her Juno experience as an incredible experience, it took a message from friend Brett Kissel to really put it all in perspective.
“He texted me after I won and said ‘You’ll never be known as Jess Moskaluke again, you’ll be known as Juno Award-winning Jess Moskaluke,’” she recalled. “It’s so true and I never thought of it that way. That’s something you are for life, and it’s a massive honour. It really has opened a lot of doors.”
Though she may have thrown in the odd well-known track here and there, more than anything, Moskaluke’s performance was a much-anticipated introduction to Past the Past, and fans weren’t disappointed.
Belting out songs like Like Your Love, Camouflage, and Right When You Left — a song she penned with The Cadillac Three’s Neil Mason, Moskaluke and her band commanded the room from beginning to end. With so many new and great tracks, it’s hard to imagine choosing what would make the record would be a difficult task. Fact is, Moskaluke said she never knows what she wants out of a record necessarily, except to always be creating. Sometimes though, things happen out of the blue — especially when that special song comes along.
“With this record we were going to put out six songs, and we did, we had six songs done and ready to go — and then Past the Past came along. I heard it and I was like, this song just ties the whole record together. The song changed everything. It was really meant to be.”
By “everything,” that even included the title of the record.
“It was meant to have a special meaning, and it was really meant to connect with fans and maybe make some new fans . . . it worked out exactly how it had to,” she said. “You really can’t plan when the right song it is going to come along. We literally search for years — we never stop . . . and we never know when we’ve found it. I may have never had my career song yet, and that’s exciting to think about.”
Pics of Jess….