A LIFE OF MUSIC INSPIRED BY THE DEAD
— Chris Starrs, Athens Banner-Herald, Sep. 23, 2015
“Although Dewey Paul Moffitt started taking guitar lessons at the age of 9, his musical education did not begin until much later in his life.
“And I’m still being educated,” he said. “It’s a lifelong education.”
After acquiring that guitar, Moffitt’s next musical move was a while in coming, but was no less significant. As a teenager, he decamped from the family home in Florida to join the legion of fans following the Grateful Dead across the country.
He eventually became a Dead employee in California and has since worked for years as a concert promoter and producer and in other backstage roles that rock ‘n’ roll cannot do without.
Now calling the Rocky Mountains of Colorado his home, Moffitt still keeps his hand in the promoting game — he hosts an annual festival and books bands for clubs and concerts — but he’s also long since moved to center stage, playing a rootsy imprint of Americana that happily reminds the listener of the path paved by the likes of the Dead and Bob Dylan.
The Dewey Paul Band will make its Athens debut with a free show today at Live Wire Athens. In addition to the quartet’s show, Moffitt will sign copies of his 2014 book “Bohemian Ghosts: A Memoir,” a no-holds-barred glimpse into the life of a young man who comes of age during one of history’s most creative time periods.
“(The book) describes how I got into the music business,” he said. “It starts out with a lot of on-the-road adventures, going to Grateful Dead shows and eventually working for the promoter Bill Graham and working behind the scenes with all those great bands and how that led to me eventually finding my passion in the concert industry.”
Moffitt has had a hand in nearly a dozen recording projects, and his latest release, “Alachua Summit,” has a particular resonance as the album is a reimagining of his very first recordings, made when he worked as a promoter in the Gainesville, Florida, area.
“I put out my first music in 1995, so this is the 20th anniversary of me starting on that whole thing,” he said. “The results of those actual recordings are what’s on the new CD. I pulled out all the old tracks and updated them with the musicians I’m playing with today. They’re freshened up. I always felt those first recordings, those songs were really solid and they served as the anchor for where I started. Now with this particular band lineup I’m really proud of the music we’re doing today and I wanted to revisit that material.
“I’m really proud of what we’ve done with it. It may have taken 20 years to get to where I wanted it to be, but I’m really happy with where it is today.”
Not surprisingly, Moffitt takes many of his musical cues from the giants, specifically Dylan, the Dead and the Belfast Cowboy, Van Morrison. He even fronts a tribute band known as Garcia Van Dylan.
“Where the Dead is concerned, that’s all about improvisation in the music,” he said. “We like to improvise as much as possible. With the Dylan influence, when we cover other material, especially his, the way he does his stuff sort of gives us permission to do songs in our own way.
“And the Dead is like that, too, for that matter. The Dead have always done their own songs in so many different ways that music doesn’t have to be tied down and put in a box with a pretty bow on it. You can changes songs and let them evolve and breathe and experiment with them.”
And grizzled Tulsa legend J.J. Cale (who died in 2013) also holds a special place in Moffitt’s heart, so much so that he recorded an album of Cale songs, 2011’s “Cale: A Tribute to J.J. Cale.”
“He had that roots Americana (sound), that blues, that real simple stuff everyone can relate to,” Moffitt said. “It’s everyman’s music, in my opinion. And personally he had a big influence on me. I had the honor to work with him and he called me up one day and said he really enjoyed my music. I never expected any kind of accolades from him, so that was something I felt completely humbled and honored by.
“I decided I wanted to record a couple of J.J. Cale covers, and one led to two, which led to 16. It was like I couldn’t stop with just a couple, and by the time I got around to 16 I figured I had a whole tribute CD. I was able to put that out while he was still with us.”
Also appearing on the bill will be Baxendale, Mize & Mills, featuring local luthier Scott Baxendale, Ben Mize and John Mills. Moffitt and Baxendale are old friends from Colorado, where Baxendale ran a guitar shop in Denver.
“We were roommates in Denver,” Moffitt said. “He’s worked with a lot of great people, so we’re excited to have Scott on the show, too. He’s got quite a bit of Colorado influence in his music, by way of Texas, too. We just keep spreading this around.””
“The Dewey Paul Band is tremendous!”
— The Telluride Watch
“Moffitt is a musician and a music lover who has had life experiences any rock and roll lover would envy. He is one part Kerouac, one part Merry Prankster, and one part Tom Wolfe.”
— Michael Buffalo Smith, Kudzoo Magazine, June 2015
“Dewey Paul Moffitt puts on a great show folks... Don’t miss it!!!!”
— Bubba Newton, Bassist (Crazy Fingers)
“JJ Cale doesn’t need an introduction, though he has long been one of rock’s under-appreciated players. From Lynyrd Skynyrd’s well-loved cover of “Call Me the Breeze,” to Clapton’s iconic take on “Cocaine” and Widespread Panic’s version of “Traveling Light,” any serious fan of classic rock knows that Cale is the man behind some of the greatest shuffle-driven ditties to come down the pike.
So it’s entirely apt that someone finally tips their hat to the troubadour with a heartfelt effort to cover some of his best material. Colorado musician Dewey Paul serves up a very pleasing platter on Cale -A Tribute to JJ Cale. From the excellent, soulful acoustic opener, “Fancy Dancer,” Paul runs through the troubadour’s best, including the always amusing “Mama Don’t,” a fittingly soothing “Magnolia,” a slinky “Ride Me and High,” and a “Thirteen Days” that hits the spot.
Paul deftly absorbs the spirit and feel of Cale’s work delivering 16 credible and fun cuts.
Cale – A Tribute to JJ Cale is out now.”
— -Nick Huntchinson, HonestTune.com, 2012
“I love the CD, it’s really great work.”
— John Oates (Hall & Oates) speaking about "On The Devil's Highway," 2010
“Dewey is a true professional and has lots of material that’s very inspiring to work with.”
— Jose' Rossy, percussionist (Talking Heads, Robert Palmer, Patti LaBelle, Sonia Dada)
Dewey Paul combines the influences of Dead, Dylan
“ KEYSTONE “
Dewey Paul Moffitt found Summit County 18 years ago, on a break from touring with the Grateful Dead. He finally was able to move to the mountains permanently back in December, and is releasing the Dewey Paul Band’s first album with a show at the Goat. Moffitt worked the Dead shows backstage setting up, and also worked as a concert promoter in Florida while performing music with the Dewey Decibel System before he arrived here.
He calls his music singer-songwriter, and also, Colorado-influenced.
Living in Denver the past nine years has made a discernible difference.
”It definitely affected my songwriting. It’s more personal, more intimate, the songwriting and all the arrangements,” he said of living in Colorado.
Moffitt recorded the album at his home studio in Silverthorne.
Moffitt produces an annual Bob Dylan tribute concert which benefits music programs in the Denver schools. The band has also taken its show on tour, including a show in Silverthorne.
”Just being an artist, all the people that have inspired me over the years inspires me to give back to the community I work in,” he said.
”On the Devil’s Highway” will be available at the Goat or at Affordable Music in Dillon.”
— Leslie Brefeld, Summit Daily News, 8/11/2008