December 20, 2012

Making Noise: It's always been about music for this singer-songwriter

Moses Atwood will be in Maine a few days after Christmas, co-headlining show with his friend Samuel James.

By Aimsel Ponti
News Assistant

Singer-songwriter Moses Atwood left Maine a little more than five years ago and calls Asheville, N.C., home. He released "One Bright Boat" earlier this year, and it's on iTunes and at

click image to enlarge

Courtesy photo Moses Atwood went to college for three semesters before realizing music was his passion. Atwood, who grew up in Damariscotta, now lives in Asheville, N.C.


WHEN: 8 p.m. Dec. 28

WHERE: One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $10 in advance; $15 day of show



"Sara Smile," Hall and Oates

"Timbindy," Ali Farka Toure

"Better Off Dead," Bill Withers

"Willie Mays Is Up at Bat," Chuck Prophet

"Feeling by Degrees," Chris Smither

"Zombie," Fela Kuti

"God's Song," Randy Newman

"Get the World Started," Michael McDonald

"Camus," Samuel James

"90 Miles," The Honeycutters

TURN YOUR RADIO DIAL to 102.9 WBLM every Friday at 8:30 a.m. to hear Aimsel Ponti wax poetic about her top live music picks for the week with the Captain and Celeste.

Atwood's appreciation for the early roots of American music shines through in his singing, playing and songwriting. He'll be back in Maine, co-headlining show with his friend Samuel James a few days after Christmas.

GO recently asked Atwood about the many facets of his music.

When did you first realize that you wanted music to be your life's work?

I made it through three semesters of a liberal arts degree before I realized that it was all about music for me. I left and went out to Phoenix, Arizona, to learn how to build guitars. 

What's your songwriting process like?

It's always changing, and it's never quite the same twice. For some time now, I've been avoiding having too much concept of what a song is about while I'm working on it. I'll improvise music and a sing a melodic combination of words and gibberish until I have something to work with and flesh out. I like it when the meaning of a song reveals itself to me over time. 

What inspired the song "Garden of Eden" (on "One Bright Boat")?

"Garden of Eden" has a two-fold inspiration. At the time, I was thinking about how it must be difficult for professional athletes who retire, or for college athletes who don't make it to the pros. So on the surface, it's a song written from the perspective of a man looking back at his time as a star quarterback or shortstop or whatever. At the same time, it's about me and my own nostalgic pinings for when I lived in Portland and released my first record in 2006. At the time, I was really on top of the world, so to speak. 

How about "Tell It Like It Is?"

"Tell It Like It Is" is a song about how we all trap ourselves within our ideas about who we are. At the time, I was wondering about how much we are shaped by our past and by our stories. Ultimately, I guess it's about how it's up to us to shape our lives, and that the story is ours to tell no matter what lies behind us. 

What is your favorite song on "One Bright Boat," and why?

Right now, my favorite is "At Last." I really like the way this song came through the recording process. I think to my ears, it may be the most successful song just from the perspective of trying to make the feel of a song come through the medium of recorded music. Also, of all the songs, this is one that has really revealed its meaning to me more and more over time. 

What musicians do you most admire, and why?

I admire almost all musicians, really. There's so much variety, and I am always in awe, alternating between inspired by and envious of all kind of musical talents. From the beginning, I have been the most inspired by those songwriters who can sit alone on stage and captivate an audience.

Staff Writer Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455 or at:


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