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Richmond, Virginia, United States | SELF

Richmond, Virginia, United States | SELF
Band Rock Blues


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"These Guys Can Climb A Ladder"

These guys can climb a ladder
Painting contractors by day, Moossa stokes stage success with perfect blend of rock, reggae and blues


When the four members of Moossa aren't crammed into a white van looking for a La Quinta at 4 a.m., they paint. No bowls of fruit or softly lit nudes, but plenty of hallways, porches and ceilings.

As independent painting contractors during the day, the Richmond quartet shares ladders and dropcloths. But at night, they take the stage and focus their perpetual partnership on music.

This weekend, vocalist John Moossa, guitarist Jim Fabricatore, drummer Scott Lewis and bassist Ryan Davis set up camp in Bogart's Back Room. For two consecutive nights, they'll share the bill with the Johnson City, Tenn., band Rob Russell & the Sore Losers.

On a bad day, you might fear John Moossa. He's a big guy, thick in the right places, with a low rumble voice. But he's almost never without a broad smile, underlined with a close-cropped patch of beard. And even though he's written songs such as "Moose Blues," "Break Apart" and "Blood Rage," some days he can sound downright giddy.

Especially when he talks about the momentum of the band that has played together since 2002.

"We're starting to feel the first taste of bigger and better things," Moossa said. "Everybody has been working hard on the music, and it's really been paying off."

Back in 1998 when John Moossa took to the Moondance stage with guitar in hand, he was emulating Bob Dylan. And like a rolling stone, he rolled alone. These days he revels in the spirit of collaboration that defines his band.

The group heads into the studio soon to start work on a new album, a follow-up to last year's "Get Away." Moossa promises the songs will ring with the same fresh mix of roots-rock, reggae and blues -- with an extra smidgen of funk.

Exactly how much is a smidgen of funk? Smart money puts it somewhere in the middle: more than Hootie, less than Bootsy.

In addition to the new album, Moossa looks forward to recruiting new listeners with a busy season on the festival circuit.

Besides several smaller events in Virginia and North Carolina, Moossa is most excited about the Haymaker Music Festival in Spotsylvania May 20-21. The band shares billing with artists such as The Drive-By Truckers, Soulive and Particle, and it will get a crack at the loyal (and lucrative) "jam band" audience.

"If we land on that circuit, it will do wonders for us," Moossa said.

For each of them, opening more ears advances the ultimate goal: getting the band more exposure, more work and more income from music. Success for Moossa means putting away the brushes and the drip-covered slacks. It means travelling the world with guitar-shaped baggage and coming home to spend time with their families instead of just making ends meet.

But in the meantime, the band doesn't sit around waiting for the phone to ring. The band members keep busy, playing where they can, as often as they can.

Even a 7:15 a.m. slot jamming for runners of Nashville's Country Music Marathon is worth the trip (which they'll make April 30).

"On the road, you meet the biggest freaks in the world," Moossa said. "But I mean that in the most beautiful way."

Along the way, they've played small clubs, empty restaurants and one flatbed truck (during a parade in Massachusetts). Money is money and music is music.

As long as one begets the other, things are golden for John Moossa.

- Richmond Times-Dispatch


UNC Chapel Hill
everything was great.... the band was amazing, the entire crowd was amazed and kept asking for more music even until late in the morning. This is the best live band we have had, or I have seen at fraternity, also one of the best live bands I have ever seen period. Moossa was a great find....

Social Chair
Phi Epsilon Tau
UNC Chapel Hill
March 16, 2005 - Phi Epsilon Tau UNC

"Get Away Review"

The band name comes from lead singer John Moossa, who put out a solo album last year called Last Night. His thick, delectably gritty tone (reminiscent of Dr. John) was certainly the most impressive ingredient of its decent if unexceptionable roots/reggae/blues pastiches. He also had a solid corral of backing musicians, and one of them, guitarist Jim Fabricatore, has joined John and a new rhythm section on Get Away. It's clearly more of a band effort; not only do Fabricatore and bassist Ryan Davis contribute their own (often superior) songs, but the results sound a little livelier, tighter and more assured.

You can hear the difference from the first track, "Break Apart". An urgent, soulful rocker, it finds the band working at full speed from the get-go, with Moossa's deep, eloquent vocal flowing freely over organ and chunky rhythm guitar. On the agile "Night Rider", Davis and drummer Scott Lewis swing more than adequately, while Fabricatore effortlessly switches between feedback and fluid, resourceful jazz riffs. "Althea" is even more ambitious. An attempt at a roots-flavored road song lament, its delicate acoustic opening gives way to a chugging beat, a classic, ringing chorus and a sublime, lengthy steel guitar solo on the outro. Moments like these come across so well on record that you'll start to imagine how fine they might sound live.

Moossa hasn't entirely abandoned his previous album's reggae and blues. The former pops up most explicitly on the six-minute "Dragon's Den" and, despite its throwaway title, "Moose Blues" is a sweet, slow slice of twelve bar noir-drenched wonder. But this time, with help from his band, he sounds a little more relaxed and adept at making these songs seem more personable and less like genre exercises. A wider palette also proves fruitful; in addition to jazz on "Night Rider", he seems comfortable taking stabs at juiced-up boogie ("Reno") and wicked, groove-heavy funk ("Stained-Glass Window"). On "Zinger Jones", he even tries out a little laid-back pop, and it works.

Moossa throws in two sociopolitically charged songs at the end, and their heavy-handed, verging-on-clumsy lyrics ("Look at those Saudi Arabian fellows") don't mesh well with the rest of the album. However, the music still registers, especially on "I Can Feel You Coming", whose chorus features a nifty, unexpected Who homage. It's one of many moments on Get Away that elevates Moossa from mere bar-act to a band worth keeping track of.

- Chris Kriofske SPlendid Ezine - Splendid Ezine

"Last Night Review"

Performing Songwriter
September/October 2003
John Moossa, Last Night
Produced by John Morand and John Moossa

From the laid-back but ready-to-rumble groove that drummer Dusty Ray Simmons establishes at the beginning of the first track, you can just feel that John Moossa’s Last Night is going to be one damn cool record. And he doesn’t disappoint.

Mixing jam-flavored melodies and grooves with a roots-rock backbone, Moossa is a versatile artist. Vocally, he comes across as some unholy union of Little Steven and Van Morrison with a little John Hiatt thrown in to really screw you up—in other words, gruff, throaty and good. His tunes are straightforward story songs and sexy, well-wrought love tunes like "Girl on a Hill With a Mirror." - Peforming Songwriter

"Hometown Boys Rock Out"

Kate Bredimus
Thursday October 23, 2003

Picture this: You're a Marine, leading an armored unit through 630 miles of the arid Iraqi desert. On top of your vehicle there's a 50-caliber automatic.

To lift the mood you put on a CD. Nothing political or obvious, just something that makes you think of home and happier times. You crank up the volume and watch little Iraqi children smile and wave as you pass them. Then, when you get back to the States, you write to the band and tell them about it.

This is the story that John Moossa, frontman for the local roots/rock/reggae band Moossa, tells at a crowded table at Acappella, all while keeping one eye on the World Series.

A few months ago Moossa got that email from a Marine who had seen one of the band's shows at Backstreet Pub in Beaufort, N.C., and taken their album, Last Night, with him overseas.

"Yeah, we were part of the decimation over there," Moossa says sheepishly.

For a band that's used to playing parties, war-torn Iraq seems like a strange arena for their music. Ironically on Moossa's new record, Get Away, the songwriter takes his first steps into political terrain on songs like "New War" and "I Can Feel You Coming." "It's a new area to write about for me," he says. "The war in Iraq, the World Trade Center-- it got me thinking about that kind of stuff."

Something else is different on Get Away. The songs on Last Night were written by Moossa when the band was still embryonic, and released as the John Moossa Band. Get Away is the sound of four individual voices coming together, adding different textures and turns to the music. Guitarist Jim Fabricatore wrote the album's storming intro, "Break Apart" and bassist Ryan Davis contributes four more, ranging from the dark and slinky "Night Rider" to the reggae groove "Dragon's Den."

"The beauty of Moossa is that this is an actual team," Moossa says. "It's not just one person and some hired guns."

Since he moved to Richmond in 1994, Moossa has sought to put together a group of like-minded musicians. He fronted the local jam band Flesh Leshman for a few years before striking it out on his own as a solo performer. In late 2001 Moossa joined up with Fabricatore, an old neighbor, who introduced him to Davis. Drummer Scott Lewis came aboard shortly thereafter, rounding out the lineup. For Moossa, a husband and father of two, Get Away marks the beginning of a unified band.

Recorded at Sound of Music with producer John Morand, Get Away runs the stylistic gamut, moving confidently through reggae, blues, roots rock, jazz, bluegrass, funk and folk. "Everybody brings something different to the table," says Fabricatore, a graduate of VCU's music school. Both he and Davis are veterans of various jazz, bluegrass, and funk bands. Lewis came by way of pop and rock, and Moossa himself is a bluesy singer/songwriter with an unequivocal love for Bob Dylan.

"We're a very versatile band," Davis says. "When you listen to and care about music you end up exploring every style and taking the best from each one."

With so many influences swirling around in the music it would be easy for Get Away to become overloaded. Instead the record stays tight and focused, each track packing its own distinct punch, with Moossa's great Elvis Costello drawl anchoring the songs together.

Moossa's mighty confluence of sounds has gained the band a loyal and diverse following along the Eastern seaboard from Massachusetts down to North Carolina's Outer Banks. "We'll play a white boy frat party at JMU, a Richmond assembly of yuppies, or a group that's 95 percent African-American at Lexington Market in Baltimore," Moossa says. The band peppers its set with covers by Weezer, Ben Harper, Billy Idol, Howlin' Wolf, and the Meters. "We have over 80 songs in our repertoire," Moossa says, before joking, "And we never repeat a song."

There are more on the way. Moossa has already written enough material for a new album, and an upcoming radio and publicity campaign will keep the band on the road for the foreseeable future.

"These guys were the ones who were behind doing this record," Moossa says. "I'm so psyched we have it now." -

"Indie Spotlight"

The second CD by Richmond, Virginia's Moossa is another good time mix of alt folk with a subtle jam rock vibe and flashes of reggae. Think of Bob Dylan, Widespread Panic and Sublime being whipped in a blender with a couple shots of Appleton Rum. "Break Apart" is a laid back romp with sweet guitar licks. "New War" is a passionate plea fueled by music to the shade of Phish, and "Night Rider" has a gritty blues bite. Augmented by excellent musicianship, and well-written songs, John's vocals are a bit Tom Petty and a touch Trey Anastasio as he lends the extra dose of soul to the slyly sardonic lyrics.URL: E-mail: - Music Morsels


Bright Lights & Faded Signs - 2012
Route 17 -2008
Step Right Up - 2006
Get Away -2003
Last Night - 2002 (John Moossa)

Singles "Break Apart" and "Reno" received serious rotation on over 90 college and AAA stations. "Reno" selected for WNCW "Crowd Around the Mic" compilation that included artists like Gillian Welch, Tim O'Brien and the Indigo Girls



Since 2001 the band has created an original mix of song driven funk, folk, reggae and rock. Live performances and studio recordings are laced with “….sunsplashed laid back reggae…back alley funk, (and)… subtle punk soul…grittier then a July evening in Tulsa.” Moossa’s songs are brimming with wicked guitar licks, soulful vocals and thoughtful lyrics culminating in good time positive music. Some of the more popular numbers the band has released over the years include "A Little Bit Higher", "Reno" and "Althea". Each song illustrates a different facet of MOOSSA's eclectic repertoire from seductive reggae to funky r & b and epic jam rock.
A true workingman’s band, the group has performed over 500 times on stages and in locales as varied as their repertoire.
Moossa has enjoyed radio play on indie, college and AAA stations as well as a few select TV appearances such as PBS’ nationally syndicated “THE MUSIC SEEN”. Moossa has shared the stage with the Wailers, Drive By Truckers, Victor Wooten, Stephen Kellog and the Sixers and Soul Live amongst many others.
Past performances include Floyd Fest , the Great American Music Festival , Haymaker and the Vintage Virginia Wine Festival.

With their fifth studio album, Bright Lights and Faded Signs, Moossa continues to produce strong, eclectic, lyric-driven original rock. The album represents the band’s coming of age in a multitude of respects. Songs seamlessly flow one into the next in a collage of snapshots of life’s daily struggles: lost love and family, finding peace and one’s place in the world. The themes are expressed over powerful grooves, riffs, and infectious hooks. There is an inherent unity in the band’s diverse mix that suggests a wide range of influences across many genres, including rock, country and R&B. Bassist and songwriter Ryan Davis penned the majority of the songs and anchors the tunes with strong, clever and melodic playing like that heard on “Center of it All”. Singer Nancy Waldman’s vocal tracks are simply top notch and she controls her powerful instrument with artful nuance on stand out cuts like “Leave it Alone” and “Fall”. Guitarist Trey Batts weaves subtly textured guitar lines throughout the compilation and paints vivid landscapes with tone and tremelo. Trey’s standout work on the record includes a large role in the mixing process of the recording. Band founder John Moossa rounds out the group’s sound with an edgy vocal that rumbles and drawls on “Told You So” and the sweetly manic delivery on “Laughin’ Cryin’”. The album was written and conceived over a series of stripped down rehearsals and then recorded locally in Oregon Hill at Minimum Wage Studio. Minimum Wage owner and Engineer Lance Koehler commands the drums on half of the tracks, and the band’s newest member Dennis Vignola delivers an enthusiastic cadence on the remaining tracks. The band celebrates its tenth year of playing with the CD release party on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at Bogart’s. The CD will be available at the show and online via outlets such as CDBaby and iTunes.

Moossa advocates awareness of Mitochondrial disorders and the mission of the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation.

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