Damond Moodie started singing in a band when he was almost finished with college. His parents were alarmed when he changed majors and began writing poetry. “My Pops didn’t think I would be employable,” the singer remarks, “but the band gave me an outlet for the new found creativity that I felt, and it actually motivated me to get my degree.”
Brought up on a steady diet of Motown Soul, Hard Rock, and 80’s pop music, this Cleveland, Ohio native decided to blend his velvet thunder vocals with the rootsy but spare sounds of the acoustic guitar. Only problem was he didn’t know how to play the guitar.
Determined to develop as a performing songwriter, the newly anointed musician cut a three song demo tape, and for months drove around half of the U.S. A picture of determination, this self-taught guitar player used open mics to hone his craft and sell his product.
Eventually Damond landed in Oakland, California and is currently preparing to release the follow-up to his debut record, Fishin’ for Words. With a welcome mix of sparse acoustic tracks and superbly arranged full band pieces, the new record Daydreamer is a full-blown look into this organic troubadour’s reality. Damond Moodie will be performing around the Bay Area both solo acoustic and with the band, a six-piece outfit that brings a funky swagger and mesmerizing expertise to the often introspective and modest nature of his songs.
Who does he sound like? Comparisons have been made to Seal, Ben Harper, early Lenny Kravitz and Tracy Chapman. He calls his music alternative soul and with poetic eloquence and emotive intensity, Damond Moodie attempts to uplift, commiserate, and serenade a damaged world.
Damond Moodie - lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Brian Hill - lead and rhythm electric guitar
Michael Meyers - keyboards, backing vocals
David Ernst - lead and rhythm electric guitar
Kevin Lofton - Bass guitar
Maurice Miles - Drums, backing vocals
Fishin' for Words (13 tracks) 2002
Daydreamer (13 tracks) 2006
Day for Daydreamer
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Damond Moodie, out of Oakland, writes and sings songs with an old-fashioned mix of acoustic R&B and ...Damond Moodie, out of Oakland, writes and sings songs with an old-fashioned mix of acoustic R&B and pop. Although he's been compared to Lenny Kravitz, Seal, Ben Harper and Tracy Chapman, he also sounds like something great from the more distant past. He's like those '60's and '70's artists whose poetry reflected real heart and soul, who meant it when they sang about peace and love — and managed to throw in some funky melody, too.
His excellent new recording is "Daydreamer." We particularly like uplifting tracks three ("The Blues") and eight ("Blessed").
Minor 7th Short Takes
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Someone needs to start a big record label and get Moodie's work to the masses 'cause baby, this is s...Someone needs to start a big record label and get Moodie's work to the masses 'cause baby, this is solid acoustic soul with a back beat that'll make every cell of your body wanna dance. There's no horn section or slick backing tracks, just his chunky rhythmic guitar and emotional vocals with a tight band, as if he and his buddies got together at a great party and laid down some tracks. From the joyful "Blessed," to the eerie "HalloAmericaWeen (Let's Roll)," he covers a lot of emotional ground. In "Misery" he wishes someone the best even though there seems to be no hope, the wistful strings making it even more moving. "Messed Up" is anchored in a solid gospel piano; it's an apology to a lover and damn... anyone who wouldn't take him back after that is heartless. If you love singer-songwriters like Tom Prasada-Rao or Tracy Chapman, heck, even if you don't, you'll love this disc. And if you're this generation's Berry Gordy, sign this guy up.
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The first guy in the Madmonk frying pan is Damond Moodie, who hails from the city across the bay; no...The first guy in the Madmonk frying pan is Damond Moodie, who hails from the city across the bay; no not San Francisco, the one across from there called Oakland. Yes, the place the former LA Raiders now calls home. According to his press release, “Damond fuses rock, soul and folk to explore contemporary themes of love, friendship, spirituality, and the human condition.” But what I wanted to know is can the dude play?
"Daydreamer" opens with a solid track called “Brand New Consciousness”, a tuneful folk rocker that immediately demonstrates Moodie’s abilities to sing and write an engaging song. Refreshing elements on this one include the prominent use of acoustic guitar and congas to create space and texture. The next tune that really caught my ear was “Misery”, a philosophical musing about an empty existence, beautifully augmented by a superb cello part played by Theresa Wong and violin by Angela Hsu. Moodie’s vocal performance squeezes every nuance from the fine melody and his lyrics are well written.
“Stolen Community” weaves between an up tempo rim shot groove with finger picking guitar to a smoking syncopated rocker that reminded me of Dave Matthews. It is clear the artist understands the importance of arrangement and creating excitement in his material. His methodology is further enhanced by the use of jazzier chords and intricate textural parts played by the fine musicians contributing to this effort.
Moodie treads into the territory of Prince and Lenny Kravitz with “Messed Up”, a 6/4 ballad about infidelity and then segues into a surprisingly cool cover version of Joni Mitchell’s “California” that retains the original melodic elements while allowing the singer to lay his own footprint down. On “HalloAmericaWeen”, the songwriter waxes political about the Bush Administration with this piece of lyrical prose:
“So he gathered up his characters, sycophants, and specters: We all set out to canvas the countryside: It didn’t seem to matter that only the moon had seen it, on his sources we would rely”.
One of the last tracks on the CD is “Fishing for Words”, a super groove tune that showcases the musical talents of the band and hearkens back to the late seventies fusion sound of artists like Stevie Wonder and George Duke. This one also has some of the disc’s best lyrics and a burning guitar solo in the style of Mike Sembello.
It’s always a pleasure to review a disc that is so
professionally packaged and well executed as Daydreamer. Singer/songwriter Moodie should be proud of his work, as he obviously put much time and effort into writing and producing it. His material is not only intelligently crafted in terms of melody and groove; he clearly spends the requisite time to write thought provoking lyrical themes. Madmonk Overall Grade: A
PS, the dude can play.
Damond Moodie ~ Daydreamer
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Soul records have a tendency to take on so many studio tricks, voices and instruments that the soul ...Soul records have a tendency to take on so many studio tricks, voices and instruments that the soul of the music is about the least visible thing on offer. That's why the spare, almost "demo" nature of Damond Moodie's newest record Daydreamer, is such a peaceful, quiet statement of strength.
With simple yet elegant harmonies, an occasional electric guitar or bass dropping in for a few bars, and above all well-written lyrics, Moodie gives listeners a solid -- and, yes, soulful -- performance.
Moodie's themes reflect tried and true subjects from soul's pantheon: love gone wrong; love of God; human frailties and loneliness. But he adds some exceptionally political tunes to the mix, as well. Chief among these is "HalloAmericaWeen (Let's Roll)." Eschewing the pedantic for the mournful, Moodie makes his point without leaving the listener feeling like they've just been through a LaRouche rally.
And, bless him, he covers (with slight rewriting) one of my favorite anti-war songs, Joni Mitchell's "California," also a masterpiece of understated political soft-sell.
Finally, I love soul music because its artists are so unabashed about honoring their influences. Moodie must be a fan of Stevie Wonder (was that a nod to "Livin' for the City" I heard in the opening track's city soundscape?), Seal (in particular the more subdued, "Kiss from a Rose" Seal) and good old Daryl Hall.
Moodie takes these influences and weaves his own talent for not only music, but also sweet subtlety, throughout Daydreamer. Sometimes the good records don't blow you over so much as they set you down in a soft chair and sing to you quietly. This record does just that, and I could sit here listening comfortably for quite awhile.
Taking it to the Streets
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Onto the singer-songwriter scene bursts Damond Moodie, an Oaklander fairly recently self-taught on t...Onto the singer-songwriter scene bursts Damond Moodie, an Oaklander fairly recently self-taught on the guitar with a penchant for rhythm and song and a keen ear for harmony. His debut CD, Daydreamer, opens with a thoughtful rap, then launches into the stellar harmonic convergence of Daydreamer.
The song is outstanding, with deeply felt lyrics and a lush layering of harmonies all provided by Moodie. He is the master of the blue note in this track, offering up his credo for living in one fell swoop. High marks for this cut.
Moodie sounds something like Josh Kelly, with a little Seal or Jack Johnson thrown in which seems improbable, but true. Hes soulful and poetic like Seal, with the gutsy, bluesy style of current blues-boy wonders Johnson or Kelly. That combo shines in Messed Up, Misery, and Shine On. Performance is strong in every cut. But the overall CD falters a bit with some song choices.
While we may appreciate the political sentiment of HalloAmericaWeen (Lets Roll) or long for something like Thanks to the Lord or Blessed in a spiritual mood, these pieces dont suit the style of the CD as a whole. I would enjoy a spiritual collection from Moodie with this level of talent and performance, though.
Moodie does a nice rendition of Joni Mitchells California that feels fresh and original, a nice homage to the singer-songwriter genre. The Blues and some other cuts on the CD are not as strong as Daydreamer but stand up as supporting songs.
Moodie is one to listen for, whether at your local coffeehouse open mic or on the radio. His vocal chops are solid and his performance is strong. As Randy Jackson says, its all about song choice. Future collections would be well served with bigger helpings of Moodies signature style. Daydream some more, and dont hold back.
Brand New Consciousness
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"A Brand New Consciousness." It has been awhile since I've heard an interlude so accurately describe..."A Brand New Consciousness." It has been awhile since I've heard an interlude so accurately describe an entire album. On his sophomore release "Daydreamer," Damond Moodie uplifts and encourages his audience through passionate alternative acoustic soul. With vocal similarities to an early Lenny Kravitz, Moodie compassionately sings about the human condition, and his writing is sure to grab your attention and catch your ear, especially with tracks like "Misery." This song really caught my attention, because we all know the person Moodie describes "You feel the need to be needed, but you suck the joy from the room." Moodie's honesty and love for mankind are relevant throughout this album as he reminds the audience that "everyone gets the blues," but that's okay "'cause you are blessed." Moodie's sincerity can be heard throughout the entire album. Though it's called "Daydreamer," I'm not sure how accurately this describes Moodie-I think he's already found his niche, and he attacks it passionately with an audience-grabbing message.
Industry, Radio, Live, and a Fan
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A great entertainer, in the sense that an audience is always engaged because he manages to draw them...A great entertainer, in the sense that an audience is always engaged because he manages to draw them in, no matter what he is saying or singing. ~ Alyse Courtines former A & R for Blackbird/Atlantic Records
Damond Moodie's music moves like water, transforming, nourishing, reflecting, and washing through the deepest parts of the listener. Damond displays a courageous commitment to expression of personal truth in the interest of human social evolution. ~ DJ Joel Hutner on Berkeley Liberation Radio, 104.1FM
When Damond plays Papa Tobys it's always a fun show, he gets the crowd
Into the show and allows people to relax and enjoy his performance. I keep expecting him to tell me he can't play my little café any longer because
he's going on tour across America, fortunately for us that hasn’t happened - yet that is. ~ Robert Williams, Owner Papa Toby's Revolution Café San Francisco, CA 94110
Encouraging, Entertaining, and Evocative:
When I listen to this recording, I feel encouraged to think and act differently -- positively. I can dance, tap my toes, sing, and feel funky while I'm also feeling hopeful that I can live a better life. Some of the songs make me want to talk to somebody about the lifestyle choices we're making. This is a great debut and a firm foundation for greater recordings to come. ~ Ayo Yetunde devoted fan
Short takes review
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India.arie may have coined the term "Acoustic Soul", but she doesn't own the concept, as Damond Mood...India.arie may have coined the term "Acoustic Soul", but she doesn't own the concept, as Damond Moodie proves on "Fishin' for Words". Moodie's buttery vocals melt all over these thirteen (mostly) acoustic tracks... heartfelt, groovin' and contagious. This is 1970's-era soul that soars with a positive message and makes you feel good, there's no sinister urban or hip-hop edge to Moodie's music. Like Donny Hathaway before him, Moodie's artistic vision is less about love songs, more about community; one of lifting people up, not miring them down.
Fishin' for Words - CD Review
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A lot of times when reviewing an artist, the artist will have a tendency to self-define their music ...A lot of times when reviewing an artist, the artist will have a tendency to self-define their music in ways they think will sound interesting or cool, as opposed to defining it as it actually sounds. That is not the case with Damond Moodie’s debut album, Fishin’ For Words. Promoted as "alternative acoustic soul", that is exactly what the thirteen tracks on the CD deliver.
Throughout the CD, Moodie’s passion and conviction in his music shine through. Some of the songs are catchy, some not so much, but all of them are heartfelt. This is soulful storytelling, whether it is backed by a simple intimate guitar as in the album’s final track "Legacy", or given a full instrumental backing as in the title track. Moodie, who is a teacher by day, generally eschews intellectual or political topics and instead sings about the simple, personal themes of love and faith. There are a few songs that feel a little forced and preachy, but by far the majority impress as deeply personal expressions of love and conviction.
This is a soul album. Acoustic? Often. Alternative for being acoustic? Yes. But at its essence this is heartfelt and personal music dealing with eternal themes; music with soul.
Solo set list:
depends if the gig has a theme, my mood that day, any requests from the crowd, etc. I play sets mostly made up from my 35 original song repertoire. I can play from 20 minutes or 3 hours.
Solo covers would include:
"Summertime" (Gershwin), "California" (Joni Mitchell), "Ain't No Sunshine" (Bill Withers), "Karma Police" (Radiohead), "A Little Warm Death" (Cassandra Wilson), and/or "Waltzing with Bears" (Dr. Suess).
With the band (approx. 60 - 90 minutes):
1. When I Die
2. Cash World
7. Messed Up
8. Stolen Community
9. The Blues
Covers w/the band:
"Waiting in Vain" (Bob Marley)
"Wind Cries Mary" as a duo (Jimi Hendrix)
There are no upcoming dates at this time.