Moses Atwood

Moses Atwood


Drawing deeply upon the roots of American music, Moses Atwood weaves tales of love, death, and murder with stunning lyricism and melodic finger-style guitar playing.


Moses Atwood was born in 1980 and grew up in Damariscotta, Maine, the son of two ceramic artists. The wheels of his creative musical journey were jilted into motion at a live performance of John Popper and Blues Traveler, after which Moses bought his first harmonica. Almost immediately after, he fell under the spell of Neil Young and Bob Dylan, and as a result bought his first guitar, and wrote his very first songs.


In the fall of that same year, Moses enrolled at Boston University and eventually met up with like-minded musicians and started The Bay State Love Machine, a 7-piece funk band. Matt initially thought only to play his harmonica in the band, but when he sang some blues into a microphone for fun, his bandmates, who were equally disturbed and fascinated, insisted that he be lead singer. Two years, dozens of gigs, and hundreds of fans later, they headlined and sold out reputable Boston venues like the House of Blues.

Meanwhile, Moses knew something was missing. School did not seem to excite him. And being a lead singer just wasn’t enough. The guitar itself had also made inroads into his dreams, and the call became so deafening that he left Boston to attend Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in Phoenix, Arizona where he learned how to build and maintain custom guitars.

Upon completion of the luthiery course, Moses returned to Boston now a freshman at Berklee College of Music. Immediately, his original composition "Wounded Soldier" was selected for a "Best of Berklee" compilation CD. That same year he was selected to sing as Bob Marley for the Bob Marley Ensemble, a prestigious 16-piece group, directed by Matt Jenson, which performed regularly throughout New England.

But again, Moses needed to rekindle his relationship to the guitar. This time, he traveled to India where he studied in Rajistan with a group of local folk musicians of the Bopha caste. Here he learned to play the ravanhatha, a traditional horsehair fiddle, with sympathetic strings, carved out of bamboo. He also witnessed a very different way of life and a more gristling type of poverty than he had ever imagined.

Classical Guitar

Moses returned to America, and narrowed his energies. He quit Berklee. A year later, he quit The Bay State Love Machine. Classical guitar would now be his polishing stone. He began study under Greek composer and guitarist Apostolos Paraskevas, practiced rigorously, and prepared for conservatory auditions. Moses was accepted to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he studied classical guitar under Yugoslavian guitarist and composer Dusan Bogdanovic. About a year in, however, he hesitated. The school was expensive, and he began to realize that, though he loved the guitar, something was missing.

Returning to the Roots

Moses flew back to Maine, and reassessed. He realized that he ventured into music because of songwriting. This is how he began his musical journey. It was not possible to isolate just the guitar, or just the voice; he needed both. With this realization, he dug back into his original passion for songwriting and combined it with a study of the history of American roots music. He began to read and imitate everything he could about the music of blues masters, folk musicians, songwriters, balladeers.

It was during this time that he developed the bulk of his current repertoire and contacted producer/guitarist and Young/Hunter artist, David Goody Goodrich (Chris Smither, Peter Mulvey, Jeffrey Foucault) and started talking about the possibilities of producing a solo record. In May 2006 Moses recorded his self-titled CD at Goody’s Signature Sounds recording studio. Although the recording process was a brand new experience for him, it had surprisingly taken only two days to complete. Most of the tracks were first takes.

Exploding Forth

The Portland Phoenix reviewed the album and in an article entitled, "The Incredible Moses Atwood," named Moses the heir apparent to Ray LaMontagne. Then, he unleashed it on October 21, 2006 at SPACE Gallery in Portland to a sold-out crowd of 325 people. The event was a resounding success. While Moses sold nearly 100 CDs, the gallery completely sold out of beer and wine.

Moses currently resides in Portland, Maine. Since the release of his CD, he has been on an aggressive self-promotion campaign, enlisting new fans with every stop on his New England circuit. Meanwhile, he is writing new material for a 2008 follow-up album.


Seventh Sin

Written By: Moses Atwood

Visit her apartment
Feel yourself leavin'
Before you even get to the door
Ignore the heavy feeling
That sits behind your ribcage
weighing you down as you climb the stairs

Your hoping that she won't be at home
Your praying that she will not be at home
Though she answered the phone
And she told you to come

Your floating to the front door
Watch your fist knockin'
And you listen to her walkin' across the room

As the door opens you want to run away,
But now its to late
No don't ever fuck with fate

Your heart leaps into your throat
The poison and the antedote is asking
if you would like some tea

Your bodies dont know that you broke up in December
They just know they go together

The smell of her is everywhere
You kiss her and you don't care
It's the seventh sin
and thats why it tastes so good

Leave in the morning
Kiss her on the forhead
laughing because there was nothing you could do


Written By: Moses Atwood

I woke up in a cell, with a cold sweat
And a head full of memories I’d rather forget
I woke next to man with his throat wide slit,
And I knifed my way into a diamond pit,

My mother rasied me right,
And my father raised me strong,
But when there’s nothin’ in your stomach,
Your bound to do something wrong.

I may have killed men,
But I did it clean and cunnin’,
And I never touched a soul
Who didn’t have it comin’

I killed a man at seventeen
And another at twenty-one,
But the earth swallowed their blood
And the river got my gun.

There’s a dream that waits
To be dreamt come sleep
And the shadow of its memory
Will always make you weep

When you wake with nothin’
But a seed deep in your side,
And it fills you with a need
To run and to hide

So whip me with your whips
And chain me with your chains
I guess killin’s alright
When you killin in the name.


Moses just released his debut self-titled record at a standing room only crowd of 325 at the SPACE Gallery of Portland, Maine.

The album was produced by David Goodrich (Chris Smither, Peter Mulvey, Jefferey Foucault) and recorded at the Signature Sounds studio in Pomfret, CT.

Set List

Moses can comfortably play for up to three hours, not including a set break.

Originals include:

Woman, Angel, Demon, Child
Seventh Sin
Charcoal, Leaves, and Fire
The Ballad of Mary
Love, Whiskey, and Wine
Brooklyn's Bolinas
Like Water
Dreams of Angeline
Please Princess
The Connecticut River
The Least Harm Done
Tell me Anne

Covers include:

Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues - Skip James
Phonograph Blues - Robert Johnson
See See Rider - Mississippi John Hurt
God Moves on the Water - Blind Willie Johnson
Thinkin' Tennesee - Dave Van Ronk
Buffalo Road - Woody Guthrie
Rake - Townes Van Zandt
Dress Rehearsal Rag - Leonard Cohen