St. Augustine native Joe Moody hasn’t always been a musician. In 2001, at 17 years old, a football injury which put him on the sidelines compelled his mother to buy him his first guitar. “My mom said if I was going to sit around the house,” says Joe. “I wasn’t going to sit around the house doing nothing.”
His musical aspirations, though, started at a much earlier age. “I started singing when I was young. I loved it. I was in chorus in elementary school. I used to get in trouble for singing in class – all the time.”
Not long after picking up the guitar, Joe’s grandmother, Janet, passed away. That’s when he started to seriously focus on the instrument. He wrote his first song, “You & I,” about her. When asked if he still performs that song today his response is slow to come, as he takes time to consider his thoughts. “No, no, I don’t. I can’t get through it without breaking down.”
While musicians perform for a multitude of reasons, Joe is very straightforward about why he decided to start performing. “I needed to make money,” he says. “I needed extra cash and figured this could be a good way to do that. One day I just started going around trying to get gigs.”
Joe walked from bar to bar with his guitar, trying to convince them to let him play a few songs. “I was 21 or 22 at the time. I was born and raised here, but I knew no one in that environment.”
It was only after Jesse Evans of the band Love Chunk let him get up on stage that Joe found a home. “Within a week I was playing with him every Thursday night at the Giggling Gator.”
Outside of being a musician, Joe has also been a bartender and a chef. He’s worked for a landscaper and as a stable cleaner for a horse breeder. It was during his most recent job, working construction, that he had an epiphany. He decided that, once and for all, all he was going to do was play music.
“I just decided that I was tired of not doing what I want to do. I’ve got gigs and I know I can get gigs, and I’m a lot more confident in the product I’m putting out to people. I loved construction and I loved bartending. They were two things I was really good at. But I feel I’m better at being in front of crowds.”
You can find Joe playing primarily at Finn’s in Flagler Beach, but he can also be found, on occasion, performing with his group the DamnDirty Trio (with Ryan Murray-Laird and Shaun Strong) at The Bar With No Name in St. Augustine and at That Bar in Jacksonville before many of the Jacksonville Icemen home games.
Learn more about Joe Moody’s music by visiting www.facebook.com/MoodyMusic4Life. Photography by Steve Parr.