Jonathan Emile‘s “Moses” is a transcendental hymn which touches beyond what the title may lead on first assumption. Acting as the second single from Emile’s sophomore album Spaces-in-Between, the Jamaican-Canadian artist builds a triumphant and compassionate message around a painfully simple chord structure. And while the album is set to “retrace eras” of Jamaican music, such as Ska, Rocksteady, Roots Reggae, and Dancehall, “Moses” highlights one more aspect of Jamaican music and culture: country and gospel.
The folk-gospel is heavily saturated in a country sound which can be heard immediately. It opens with a wistful harmonica nearing Emile’s narrative. There’s a quiver of poignancy in Emile’s tone, equally thick with trusting emotions. And from Emile’s rather deep croon, there’s still a softness in the delivery that aides the profound lyrical component: “If the heavens opened up and God came down / With not a trumpet, not a sound / And she said ‘here I am, I am the Lord to whom you pray’ / Would you embrace her? / What would you say?”
And as the track details looking for a sign and leaves the open-ended question of not meeting a savoir that fits the “paradigm” given, here begins the connection of abstract threads by Emile. “The song [Moses] is ultimately a plea for guidance, and clarity,” shares Emile. “In these days and times, as we’ve been led on by so many false prophets, and we’re experiencing global shifts that shake our faith. The concept of a ‘Moses’ is not about a single person, but about a unifying dream of humanity and solidarity. I used a central figure of all Abrahamic religions to suggest simply that we are more alike than we are different.”
Carrying on those sentiments to the track’s visual companion, directed by Jonathan Tremblay, there’s not a doubt of the unity that we all share when we seek guidance. Shot on location at Westmoreland, Jamaica, the carefree portrayal imitates the magic of the track.
Emile’s “Moses” becomes an inspirited dusty sound, carried by a universal simplicity which transcends beliefs.
Emile also continues to produce records for aspiring young artists through his independent label MindPeaceLove Records.
Pre-order ‘Spaces-in-Between‘ on your favorite streaming platform.