The Moody Brothers

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An accomplished family country band, which worked for a while as George Hamilton IV’s backing group.
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The Moody family has been involved in just about every aspect of old-time Appalachian music; and while the old-fashioned, acoustic old-time sounds of a group such as the Briarhoppers, a string band that first formed in Charlotte in the early '30s, and the strictly new-generation electronic country dance boogie of the line-dance scene may seem like two different worlds, both share the aspect of crass commercialization of the Appalachian culture. The heart and soul of the music is what has given it its long life, in the end providing employment for entire families and subsequent generations. Part of what makes the cash seem to flow, as well, seems to be the gimmicks, be it a 1920s radio producer's decision to dress groups up like hillbillies or a 1980s decision to dress John Travolta up as a cowboy and try to find some theme music to go along. It is easy to discern a Disney attraction named Le Billy Bob's Country Western Saloon as part of the same trend, and this is where the Moody Brothers band has been a featured act annually since 1992.

The fraternal members of this band are all descendants of Dwight Moody, a journeyman Appalachian fiddler associated with Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys; the group followed many a gig and recording later with the sedate "retired" existence as a member of Charlotte's the Briarhoppers in its post-disco incarnation. It was only appropriate that Dwight Moody decided to play on until the end as part of a group that boasts one member in his 90s, and this seemingly endless love of music certainly spread to his children. Carlton Moody, Trent Moody, and David Moody are the musical brethren. And no matter which brother led the band, the Moody Brothers captured awards and honors aplenty in the competitive musical genre dominated by guys in cowboy hats. This includes two Grammy nominations and three International Country Music awards and performances at venues such as the Grand Ole Opry and the White House.

The brothers got their start in show business during the late '60s and early '70s, singing gospel music on their parents' local television show in Charlotte, NC. Carlton Moody was the first to launch a career apart from his parents, and by the late '70s and early '80s, the others had grown up enough to start working with him. This represented the official beginning of the Moody Brothers band. The brothers made their European debut in the early '80s as the backup band for Grand Ole Opry star and fellow North Carolinian George Hamilton IV. Their tasty combination of folk, country, and bluegrass music was well-received. The group worked hard toward a success that it finally attained after beginning a series of country music albums for the Lamon label. The fourth of these recordings, "Cotton Eyed Joe" , literally took over the radio with a sound nobody was expecting. The record basically sounded like a recording of a square dance at which a couple of thugs had shown up with a boom box. Luckily, a few electric guitars were also on hand. Listeners that absolutely could not stand country music, as in 13-year-old girls, snatched the record up like free passes to a piercing salon. The brothers received a Grammy nomination for Best Country Instrumental Performance in 1985 for this garish record, the same year the band was invited to Europe for a tour on its own; four years later, there was yet another Grammy nomination in the same category for a much stronger piece of work, an album cut entitled "The Great Train Song Medley."

In 1986, the group performed at the Inter Country Festival in Prague, Czech Republic, leading to a collaboration with the Czech country music artist Jiri Brabec. Two years later, Brabec and his band Country Beat combined with the Moody Brothers to cut the album Friends for Czechoslovakia on the nationalized Supraphon label, an official organ of the country's Communist party. Distributed in the U.S. and Western Europe by Lamon, the album went on to sell more than 100,000 copies, definitely establishing it as the most popular album of Communist country & western music ever made. This fact has obviously escaped the scrutiny of the virulently anti-Communist Disney corporation. The national "You Take Pride in America" campaign has also repeatedly invited the group to serve as spokesmen. The brothers continued to perform together occasionally over the years, even while pursuing respective solo careers.