Well, I had good reason in taking so long to post these 11 Questions from prestigious International Bluegrass Music Association Award-winner Justin Moses. I simply couldn’t stop listening to his magnificent new self-produced LP “Fall Like Rain.” Listen to the title track here and let me know if you don’t keep hitting repeat like I did.
Jason is yet another great picker who was first recognized while working with Ricky Skaggs (Boy can Ricky pick ‘em!). Moses’ record features some fine playing from him and some of his superstar Bluegrass friends like Del McCoury, Dan Tyminski, Jerry Douglas, and Justin’s wife. Sierra Hull.
It’s an honor to have Justin visit the 11 Questions desk. You can see Justin and Sierra open for the Del McCoury Band at The Caverns Above Ground Amphitheater in Pelham, TN on April 18.
Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?
I’m originally from the small town of Madisonville, TN. It’s only about three hours away from Nashville. I moved in 2010 soon after taking a job with Ricky Skaggs. I had pondered making the move earlier, but getting that job gave me the confidence to take the dive. Between playing the Opry frequently and increasing requests for session work, it eventually became a no-brainer. I’ve had no regrets.
What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?
The first record I bought was probably on cassette. I can’t remember exactly what would have been the very first, but it would have been a Bluegrass record from the 90s most likely. And it would have been from County Sales, a mail-order business based out of Floyd, VA. My family got really into Bluegrass music as I was coming into my teenage years, so those were the recordings we were buying. The last record I’ve bought would have been a used Del McCoury I Wonder Where You Are Tonight CD from early in his career that I found at The Great Escape.
First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?
I’m unsure what the very first concert that I saw was. But the one that sticks out early on was seeing Tony Rice, Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Mark Schatz, and Rickie Simpkins (filling in for Stuart Duncan). Those musicians are still my heroes and are so incredible to witness live and in person. I came away from it so inspired that night. Funny enough, the last real concert I’ve seen was Usher and Sheryl Crow in New Orleans! Sierra and I were there a few days on a short vacation to ring in 2020, and they happened to be performing.
Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?
Ricky Skaggs, Alison Krauss, and Bill Monroe.
Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?
I’m not a coffee drinker, but I’m a pizza eater for sure! When I first moved to town, I lived near the Percy Priest Dam, and Sal’s Pizza right off Stewart’s Ferry Pike is great! If you’re a little further east, I’d recommend Calabria Brick Oven Pizza in Mount Juliet. The crust is incredible.
What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?
My favorite record to come out of Nashville is probably Alison Krauss & Union Station’s So Long So Wrong. It’s very hard to name just one record, but this one hit me just right at the right time in my life.
Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?
Truth be told, I typically don’t like to eat after a show these days. I try to eat well before a show, and then only snack lightly if I have to afterwards. Before I became a little more health-conscious, some of the bands I traveled with tended hit up something like a Waffle House late at night (mostly because they were about the only thing we could find open). And since I’m also not a drinker, I’m not necessarily as familiar with the late-night food at the bar scene either.
The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.
I would definitely turn to friends of mine who are great songwriters. Thomm Jutz and Peter Cooper are both great songwriters that I’ve gotten to know over the past few years. And I’ve had the pleasure to co-write a few songs with them and witness their process firsthand. They bring a great sensibility to everything they do. And for the third person, I’d choose my wife, Sierra Hull. She’s a very talented songwriter in addition to being such an acclaimed instrumentalist and singer.
What are your favorite music venues to play in town?
Probably my all-time favorite venue to play is the Ryman Auditorium. There’s something magical about getting to do a show there. The acoustics are so good, and the proximity of the audience still allows it to feel intimate. But for a smaller venue, I also love to play at the Station Inn. I can’t help but think of all the legendary Bluegrass bands and musicians that have played on that stage every time I’m there. It’s a very relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, so it’s a very comfortable place to do a show.
Name a musician who you’d like to see move here.
I’d love to see Chris Thile move to Nashville. I’m a huge fan of his virtuosity and would love to be able to see him play around town more.
Finally, what’s in your musical future?
Right now, I’m kind of taking things as they come. I’m starting to try and plan for making another record. Picking songs and arranging music is the thing I probably have the most fun doing. So, I hope to keep making and releasing music for many years to come. And I’m looking forward to playing more duo shows with my wife as circumstances allow.
Wonderful 11 questions.
FYI Scroll down for archived CMHF Justin Moses performance…….with special guest.
Admittedly, I know next to nothing about bluegrass. That being said, Justin Moses’ latest album sounds mighty fine to me, based on the first three tracks I listened to while reading your Q&A with him!