Jacques Moolman’s solo album The Great Valley Redemption is a ten track exploration of the human condition, looking at an individual’s growth, emotion, aspiration, conflict, and mortality through a rock ‘n’ roll lens.
Having spent a large part of his formative years on the Isle of Wight and in London, Jacques’ foray into music began when he started studying music technology, before he joined his first band as a drummer.
Jacques Moolman fondly recalls about living on the Isle of Wight
“There were so many interesting people on the Isle of Wight, a lot of old hippies that stayed on from the original festivals. I had a friend who lived near the grounds where the early Isle of Wight Festival would take place and we once went to a gypsy enclosure and there was an old house there from the ‘60s that was kind of frozen in time and all shuttered up.”
“That was where they would have some of the really big afterparties where Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix had gone. There was always a lot of interesting stuff that was happening there, and all was pretty influential on me.”
Flexing his vocal muscles as a singer and rapper, it was only when he moved to London that he picked up a guitar for the first time before returning to South Africa.
Jacques explains the The Great Valley Redemption title
“I came back to South Africa in 2001 and I moved in with my father who was living in Groot Marico in the North West, which is a fairly isolated place. I had this urge to get out of there and get back to the city because I’d started writing music and I wanted to get to a stage and perform. It was a very tumultuous and difficult time for me, being young and needing to get out and do my thing as a musician. But Marico has this great energy – it’s a tough place so it toughened me but I’ve always gone back to write music there.”
Tapping into parts of his past that are very personal, Jacques Moolman created an autobiographical album that looks back, but also recognises the new phase that he’s currently in. So, by coming to terms with the concept of his “redemption”, he’s left the past behind and moved forward with his life.
All of Moolman’s talents culminate in the album’s lead single “Hard Rain”, where an acoustic blues-rooted guitar underpins a broody and moody vocal that talks about resilience through tough times, with Moolman throwing his voice backwards and forwards against the melody.
Jacques Moolman explains “Hard Rain”
“This song is about the nostalgic effects that Marico has on me and the memory I have of my early 20s. It creates the picture of longing I felt at times living there – longing for a love I had there that had to leave, and longing to come to the city and start my career as a musician.”
Tracks like “Wild Wind” also hold a certain depth to them, while the melody is aided by the eerie saw playing of Mr Cat and the Jackal’s Jacques du Plessis’, the lyrics tell the story of the acceptance of death, so it holds a lot of weight.
Jacques explains “Wild Wind”
“I went through an experience with my fiance where we lost someone who was close to us and it was very real and I needed to write about it to process it, so because of that it’s one of the tracks that mean the most to me on the album.”
Mixed and produced by the lauded Barry Berk at The Bass Station in Parkhurst (Johannesburg), Jacques had a bit more on his plate recording-wise, stepping into studio as a solo artist for the first time to record with Barry.
Jacques comments on working with Barry on The Great Valley Redemption
“He’s got a wonderful nature and a deep love of music, and a deep understanding of the music that I was playing as well, which is a fundamental ingredient when it comes to creating an album. You have to be able to relate to each other.”
This is a rock album that traverses multiple genres. From blues and country, to heartfelt folk with an Americana edge to it, Moolman has carved out a careful corner for himself with The Great Valley Redemption that will stand the test of rock history.
My 2 cents on The Great Valley Redemption
I listened the whole album and I have to say that it’s one of the best releases that I’ve heard in 2021. The album definitely showcases Jacques’ versatility as an artist. I think it’s safe to say that despite the fact that we had a shitty 2020, SA Music is definitely alive and well – and this album is proof of that.
Peter Touissant’s 2 Cents on the Album
“I thoroughly enjoyed listening to The Great Valley Redemption. The songs are almost all retro-sounding, as if various unknown hits from the 60s have been re-recorded with modern production technology and sung by Jacques Moolman. Another thing that clearly struck was the autobiographical elements that Jacques put in his songs, the references to the period in his life living with his father in North West.”
“Memorable songs are ‘Sticky Noise’, the one song that immediately brings us back to his Shadowclub days and the eerie sound of the musical saw on ‘Wild Wind’. But all songs are well balanced, tender with rough edges, urgent where needed and breathing where they can.”
You can stream / download The Great Valley Redemption HERE.
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