Charles Ashley Moore
I became the founder of Dirt Road Rock way back in the 20th century while trudging barefoot in overalls down a red dirt road in Washington County, Georgia. I was stumbling along, whistling "Dixie," just minding my own Southern business when some miserable son of a redneck mother in a '57 GMC pickup truck rode by and chucked a half-empty can of Falstaff beer at me. My natural response was to reach for the nearest rock to throw back. So I stooped and groped, but the nearest rock turned out to be a two-ton chunk of solid tombstone granite glittering in the ditch. I had to pause. It was about midday during one of those sweltering July droughts, and I soon realized that this beer tossing incident wasn't the calculated hate crime I'd initially suspected, but was rather a genuine display of old-time Southern hospitality. I mean, I was mighty thirsty out there in that dusty old dust, and the boy in the goat-laden pickup could see that. My blessed beer can was half-full, not half-empty. So I sat down on that two-ton rock intending to sip and rest a while. But before I could put the filthy can to my lips, I perceived in the mind-melting heat that I began to experience a Confederate Hallucination, or what certain nomads from the Middle East call a Brave Iraqi Mirage. The sky grew dark, that old rock commenced to humming a tune from the B-side of "James Brown Live at the Apollo," and I saw famed Apollo descending from Olympus with a banjo on his knee. (For those of you who drive a '57 GMC pickup truck, Apollo is the Greek god of music and Olympus is not a beer made with pure artesian water.) I gazed down at that mystical dirt road rock. It was so hypnotically bright, beautiful, and altar-like that it took my mind clean off my thirst and caused me to kneel beside it and pour out my warm libation as a drink offering to the gods. At that point, there was an explosion of light and sound akin to Jimi Hendrix kindling a flame on his Stratocaster, and Apollo himself stood before me. He handed me his beat-up old banjo (which he called the Liar of Herpes or some such silliness) and commanded me to start singing "Dirt Road Rock" all over America. Needless to say, I complied. For over ten years I traveled and sang Dirt Road Rock. I met thousands of happy drunk supporters, hundreds of ornery drunk detractors, and scores of generous drunk young ladies along the way. I was whoring it up all tough and prodigal-like until one sultry evening I passed again through the land of my nativity and decided to stop off and pay my respects to the big rock that started it all. Much to my surprise, just as I was about to spill a few drops of Pabst Blue Ribbon on the slab, I heard that rock humming "Amazing Grace." I looked up, and lo and behold, a figure descending upon the clouds! But this time it was not Apollo. It turned out to be Jim and Tammy Baker, both high as kites and laughing together about being so filthy rich. I said to Tammy, "Damn, woman! What a despicable excess of eye shadow you have on," to which she replied that she agreed. "Indeed," said she, "My eye shadow is so heavy and my mascara so thick that I am blind as Ray Charles and have never seen the light. Do not be like me; rather, follow Jesus." In course of conversation I realized that God had sent Jim & Tammy to commission me to sing Dirt Road Gospel music to the world. They told me never to listen to anything else they had to say and never to attend Liberty University. Naturally, I complied. Instead of looking to the Right Reverend Falwell for spiritual guidance, I bought a used King James Bible at the local flea market (J&J), began reading it more regularly than I drank beer, and soon realized that there is such a thing as a false gospel and a false Jesus. Wow! Not only that, but this false gospel and false Jesus was the only gospel and Jesus I'd had any prior contact with. False religion was nearly as omnipresent as the Lord himself, and through it's wiles the Devil had tricked me into speaking evil of the way of truth. Well I hate being hoodwinked, so I set my face like a flint against every false religion and have never looked back. Now that's the abridged story of Dirt Road Rock and Dirt Road Gospel. The unabridged version is even more tedious and requires you to drink thirteen kegs of beer in one sitting and walk six hundred and sixty-six miles in my boots before you can even begin to comprehend it. Just listen to the Dirt Road Rock on my debut CD. If you like it, then consider supporting my songwriting habit by making a purchase, offering me a gig, playing my tunes on the radio, signing me to a songwriting contract or recording contract, or performing some other random act of human kindness towards me. In turn, I'll help you out anyway I can. P.S. I hope to release a Dirt Road Gospel album in the future, so check www.charlesashleymoore.com for news on that. Until then, stay out of the ditch and may God bless you in your walk.