Mood Cultivation Project
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Mood Cultivation Project

Band Rock Alternative


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"A Little of What Other Musicians Are Saying"

"I love it! This album, In This Space and Time, is one of the best albums I've ever heard. It is so refreshing to hear a REAL band. I haven't heard a band this good in ten to twenty years. These guys are really going places...."
"Taz" - Keyboards for Charlie Daniels Band, 32 years.

"The Mood Cultivation Project is one of the most creative bands I've ever heard. The songwriting and musicianship is unbelievable. They are truly on their own musical journey which will take them anywhere they want to go..."
Charlie Gearheart - Singer/Songwriter, Guitar for Goose Creek Symphony.

"These guys kick ass!! They remind me of us when we were young... awesome energy and impactful songwriting!
Doug Gray - Lead Vocals,
Marshall Tucker Band.

"The Mood Cultivation Project rock! Their blend of genres and songwriting make for an awesome jam! Man, they are tight! I've worn their t-shirt all over the world!!"
Phil McCormack - Lead Vocals for Molly Hatchet.

- Southern Entertainment

"Local Band Getting Taste of The Big Time"

By Ben Silvester (Elkin Tribune - September 27th, 2002)

Staff Reporter
DOBSON – Practicing out of a basement in Dobson on and off for the past year and a half, a local band will be getting a taste of the big-time Saturday night.

The six members of Mood Cultivation Project – Josh Casstevens, 19, of Jonesville; Kelly Sanders, 24, of Dobson; George Smith, 23, and Joel Woodson, 21, both of Mount Airy; Joey Johnson, 28, of Galax, Va.; and Roo Gates, 21, of Ararat, Va. – will be the opening act at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem for southern rock icons, Lynyrd Skynyrd.

"Even if nothing else comes of it after that, it’s the most unbelievable dream completed, you know," said Smith, guitar and mandolin player.

Excited was not the word the band members used to describe the emotions, rather with scattered laughter from Smith, guitarist Casstevens and percussionist Sanders they told what happened when they received word.

"If it would ever feel like we were 12 years old or something again, this is it," Smith said. "I thought I was going to hyperventilate after I got off the phone. I called Josh and we discussed it was OK this week if we needed to randomly call and have sudden outbursts of emotion."

"It was the first time George had ever picked me up and threw me in the air," said Sanders.

"Yeah, I think I hurt my back," Smith jokingly said.

The band sees this as a great opportunity and a lucky one at that.

Originally, Dickie Betts, former Allman Brothers member was scheduled to open but for reasons unknown, had to cancel. "We thank him," said the quiet Casstevens.

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s booking agent then asked for a group to replace Bets and the Mood Cultivation Project was placed on the playbill at the suggestion of Jay Stevens, owner of a Winston-Salem club, Ziggy’s.

"I don’t even know if they’ve heard us yet. They’re just going on the word of the club owner at Ziggy’s," Smith said.

Though Lynyrd Skynyrd’s agents may have not heard the band’s music, people from many of the Southern states have. During 2001, the band that has been playing together for only a year and a half, played about 105 shows from Blacksburg, Va., to Atlanta, Ga., and as far west as Tennessee. The band also noted they have toured the entirety of North Carolina in their 1984 Chevrolet short bus, Versy.

A relatively young band, making just enough money to get to the next gig – Saturday not being any different – they have played with big names such as Goose Creek Symphony, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and an after party in Atlanta for Primus front man, Les Claypool.

They have played festivals that included funk legend, George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelics and Widespread Panic.

Opening for Lynyrd Snynyrd and playing some of the gigs the Project has didn’t happen because they play cover songs. Most of the music they play are their own originals, a difference that makes bands famous.

The music that has moved the long-haired rockers up the musical ladder could be described as eclectic.

"We’re a touch different than Skynyrd," Smith said.

"A description (of the music), I don’t know," said Sanders.

"From rock to jazz, classic rock, soul, funk, touch of bluegrass in some places, touch of blues," said Casstevens, Smith and Sanders, ironically, in the same eclectic manner as they compose their music.

"A lot of the original stuff is just a unique blend of different things that’s real hard to describe," said Sanders.

Before they were blending music from so many genres, most of the members were in other bands.

Like the Yadkin River formed from its tributaries, the members of the Project met each through the music scene and eventually trickled together. Sanders’ and Smith’s bands joined together. Gates and Woodson were in various bands together.

"Not everybody in everybody’s bands was wanting to take it seriously and everything and we all kind of wanted to take it seriously, not very seriously but seriously," said Smith.

Gates and Woodson asked Smith and Sanders to play a show at Surry Community College. The band’s name came from that show but it was not until a month later, when they joined up again to play a party, that they decided to stay together.

"We really enjoyed the chemistry and decided to keep doing it," Smith said.

After the initial four members began playing, Casstevens and Johnson were added and rounded out the group.

The guys are happy to say there have been no major obstacles or problems on their path, and they are looking forward to a promising future.

They will be releasing their first CD in a month, a self-titled, live recording of a show at the Blind Tiger on March 9, 2002 in Greensboro.

Though Smith has done most of the booking for the group, next year they are hoping to find an agent and will be starting a month-long tour of the East Coast.

Tickets for the show at the coliseum are $29.75 and $24.75. They will hit the stage a - Elkin Tribune


By Chris Kempf

On Friday, Jan. 5th and Saturday, Jan. 13th, I had the unadulterated experience of attending the 100% organic jams of T.H.H.E. Mood Cultivation Project at Ziggy's and Brew-Ha-Ha's respectively. Folks, you've got to see these guys! When they open their shows, they all jump on the plow and rip the soil beneath you in a way that makes dancing impossible to avoid. Usually a 15-20 minute jam to open is enough to prep the field of unsuspecting harvesters in the audience, and leave them with their mouths hanging open wondering what could possibly follow. There's no disappointment. The seeds are sown and start to take root with a refreshing drenching of home grown originals, like 'Flower Power,' 'Jerry Clouds,' 'Sycamore Groove' (the band owes me a story about this song, I've heard there's one behind it!), and my favorite 'Mood Swings,' and a stimulating sprinkle of cover tunes, 'Funky Bitch' (Phish), 'Ghost Riders in the Sky' (trad.), and 'Long Train Runnin'' (Doobie Bros.) to name a few.

Well now that you know a little bit about the songs, "How about the band?" Who are these 'Farmers of Feelings?' Brothers and sisters, meet guitarist/mandolin player George Smith, ordinary name, extraordinary musician. George's sound spreads like a vine weaving itself throughout the band and crowd. He's always smiling, and provides bright warm sunshine to the crop. He's complimented by an incredible jam guitarist Josh Casstevens. Josh primes all the right notes. He's watching all the members of the band, looking for where to take it next or where he'd like it to go. He feeds and nourishes the band, which promotes growth and strength of sound. Bassist Joel Woodson thunders on the stage. Joel is extremely energetic and is not afraid to let you know he's having a good time. His thunder brings the rain that fortifies the root structure of the music. Drummer 'Roo' Gates slams the skins in nice long, straight rows that deliver principle and order to the rhythm, unless he doesn't want it to. Then, it can best be described as controlled chaos. Roo is accentuated by percussionist Kelly Sanders, who hides behind his chimes and other assorted instruments, in his 'Jerry' shirt, and nurtures the rhythm, which gives the sound that extra care that can sometimes be the difference between a poor or bountiful yield. Newest member, singer/harmonica player Joe Johnson concealed the fact that he'd only performed 2-3 shows with Mood, by the way his powerful voice and timely harp accompaniments flowed with the band. Joe gives the band the opportunity to branch out into wider fields of music. I also had the pleasure of meeting a very key player for Mood, the band's manager Rob Nester who kindly provided me with technical information necessary to write this review. And let's face it, it's nice to see the band's manager at the shows showing a sincere interest and support in the band he manages.

There is one more very important member of this amazing band, and that is you readers! I cannot stress this enough. GO SEE T.H.H.E. MOOD CULTIVATION PROJECT! You won't be sorry. Local bands need your support. MPC is a band that truly has a good time playing excellent music for us, but they can't play it for us if we're not there. For more information about T.H.H.E. Mood Cultivation Project, or to get on their mailing list, contact them on their website Come see Mood at The Klick in Greensboro for the Chinese New Year celebration Friday Feb. 16th. Reap the harvest Mood cultivates, because The Happiest Hippies Ever have made this hippie very happy! Peace. - Lonely Goat Magazine

"Local Band Mixes Things Up"

Local Band Mixes Things Up
Staff Writer

If you like The Grateful Dead, Wide-spread Panic, String Cheese Incident, Phish or just blues and jazz, you'll love T.h.h.e. Mood Cultivation Project.

This is a band comprised of six local musicians ranging in age from 17 to 22.

With the exception of one new member, the group has been together since February

They have played at several functions including the Jomeokee Jamboree in August, which featured Widespread Panic

Band members include George Smith on guitar, Josh Casstevens on guitar, Joel Woodson on bass, "Roo" Gates on drums, and Kelly Sanders on percussion. Rob Nester is the manager.

Mood Cultivation mixes things up. Their melodies are completely unpredictable,
yet extremely satisfyling to the discriminating ear.

They played at Shooter's on Main Street in Dobson on Sept. 8 for a crowd of about 100 people from 9:30 p.m. until about 2 a.m. with sets lasting more than an hour.

Being a college student, I have heard a lot of local bands from Winston-Salem to Boone and T.h.h.e. Mood Cultivation project ranks among the awesome.

I found myself so caught up in the music that I nearly forgot where I was and maybe even who I am. The concert was a near spiritual experience.

Check them out. They will be playing at Shooter's again on Sept. 22 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $3 in advance and $5 at the door. For more information explore

Don't miss 'em...they truly rock! - Mount Airy News

"Summer Inspiration and the Road to Self-Discovery"

Summer Inspiration and the Road to Self-Discovery
by DJ Shults (October, 2001)

Inspiration seems to be so elusive these days with the technology boom and teen pop-stars I often wonder what happened to art and its appreciation. A good friend once said to me that the only time you're really at your best is when you've finally bottomed out. This following story is about inspiration, dreams and figuring out who I am, was, or could be. On Saturday the Second of June I went to see a 6-piece band at the Pour House named T.H.H.E. Mood Cultivation Project. I was feeling edgy and introspective due to a recent change in my life. Immediately my sprits were lifted as I came to the main entrance of the Pour House, a local Raleigh nightspot.

At the entrance sat an intimidating, 350-pound plus bouncer named Tiny. He was definitely more intellectual than one might immediately assume. We said our pleasantries and I was on my way inside not sure what I might encounter as I walked through a narrow run-down alley that resembled some sort of fallout shelter after a good bombing. The red brick walls were bare and stripped and held a doorway at the end where red light and music filtered out. The doorway opened into a deeply lit, comfortable, den-like room with a rounded corner bar and the murmuring chitchat of the regular stool occupants. The room was immense and lofty. It resembled some type of artist penthouse on the lower east side of Manhattan. There were various colorful vintage couches lining the walls, which made for comfortable nooks and crannies, available for people feeling less social or perhaps consumed by the tightly woven group with which they kept company. My mood conducted me toward the darkest, quietist couch in the upper left-hand corner and I calmly sipped my beer as I sifted through my papers as if some important mission was yet to be accomplished. No sooner than I had arranged my materials, a smiling bearded man, who looked as though he possessed the wisdom of a true artist, sat beside me and we began to chat. His name was Chris Kempf and he had traveled with the band from Greensboro. He had brought his wife as well as two other companions. How lucky was I to meet him? I was going to be writing a review of the band. He offered some whisky from his flask, as I explained to him what I was doing and why I was there. He smiled the whole time and said he would introduce me to the band, get me a play list and answer any questions I had.

Chris had actually written a similar article before for Lonely Goat. His article was titled "Getting Winston Salem in The Mood," in it he compared T.H.H.E. Mood Cultivation Project's lead guitarist to Eric Clapton. A lofty idea indeed, I thought, but politely kept my comments to myself. He went on to explain that the guitar player was only 18 years old. I sipped my beer. I would soon eat my words as this turned out to be more of an experience than a mere hobby or assignment. The guitarist would soon exceed my expectations. A lull in conversation gave me an opportunity to gaze about the room and notice the calm, green painted brick walls and the wrought iron overlook on the second floor. The various details and paintings made the bar not only comfortable, but also original. Literally minutes later the band shuffled in smiling and laughing as though life could get no better. I sat there enjoying the chaos for a blink until Chris beckoned me to his side and began introducing me. The lead singer/harmonica player's name was Joey Johnson. George Smith played mandolin & guitar. There were two percussionists, Kelly played the tom-toms and a guy named "Roo" was on the set. Their energetic bass player, Joel, would soon back the band with funky free-flowing baselines that lifted people out of their seats. Pleasantries and enthusiastic encouragement exchanged, I took my seat and waited for them to play, praying for a good show. I'd hate to give a bad review to good people.

The band quickly put my worries to rest. The bassist began by playing a wild bass-line that swerved into sliding rhythmic guitar riffs. Even before I could fully absorb the gravity of the music, Josh a.k.a. "Zeke", the eighteen year old lead guitarist, broke into one of the grooviest most expressive guitar solo's I've ever heard, aside from Lenny Kravitz live. It was as if the notes were already there as his fingers played naturally and fluidly, meanwhile, the drummer sliced up the quickening tempo with help from the melodic tom-toms. Each song was amazing but this song, "flower power", was outstanding. The bass and lead guitarist brought the band to an inspirational crescendo in the middle of the song and began walking double time maintaining the energy. Meanwhile the mandolin player stepped up the melody by weaving riffs in and out of the vibrant drum beats. Joey Johnson, the vocalist, provided the raw emotion. His wailing, gruff, yet melodic, voice projected and blended words together in an - Lonely Goat Magazine


In addition to a self-titled live CD which was released in 2002, MCP has just released their first studio CD In This Space and Time. Visit their site at to purchase.



The Appalachian Mountains have a long-standing history of rich musical tradition, Old Time, Bluegrass and Country music all began there and continue to flourish today. However, with "progress" comes new influence and change. This is the story of Mood Cultivation.

So, what exactly happens when hillbillies listen to Hendrix? What is the end result of country boys on Coltrane? What if The Mothership landed in the mountains? It seems there would be no choice other than to combine these elements in a manner becoming one's heritage. It was this philosophy that spawned the Mood Cultivation Project.

The Mood began in 2000 just as it's name states - as a project; simply a few friends from various local bands getting together to jam. But chemistry and karma took over and the core of the group was formed: guitarist George Smith, bassist Joel Woodson, percussionist Kelly Sanders, and drummer "Roo" Gates. Slowly but surely, the rest of the band came along, and with the addition of lead guitarist Josh Casstevens, singer Joey Johnson and, finally, keyboardist Tommy Smith, the band decided to take on the world - or at least North Carolina.

Starting in 2001, the band began playing around 100 shows per year with widespread, positive response. Hailed as one of the East's best up and coming bands, the Mood boys continued to play their hearts out and landed opening spots with The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Goose Creek Symphony, Gov't Mule, Molly Hatchet, Marshall Tucker Band and even Lynyrd Skynyrd. Using their newfound exposure as fuel, the project has since set out to light new musical fires.

The band currently continues to tour and write their special brand of music having just released their first studio-recorded CD In This Space and Time. Combining not only the influence of their Appalachian roots, but just about everything else you can name, the Mood boys put on a passionate, high-energy show that is constantly expanding and reaching new heights. Can you dig it?