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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Youth in Revolt: A new take on Americana from The Balcony Scene

    Youth in Revolt: A new take on Americana from The Balcony Scene

    Justin Clark Moody is the seminal eccentric. He’s rounded the musical bases of indie pop, pirate folklore, and alternative country, finally settling into an act that is both worldly and traditional. The Balcony Scene, Moody’s solo act moniker, lies somewhere between Ryan Adams’ twang and Nick Drake’s melancholy while adopting the modesty of Owen, Mike Kinsella’s solo effort. His most recent collection of songs could go hand in hand with a tall whiskey in a dark country bar, mourning over love lost. It’s a sound that is years beyond Moody’s age.

    “When it comes to my sound, I have mixed emotions,” Moody said. “Sometimes I want to be really folk, sometimes I want an alternative country feel — it depends on the day. I feel I do a good job at both, so I like to combine the genres together.”

    This willingness to alter the classic formula of both country and folk is what makes Moody’s artistry sound remarkable, given that’s he’s only 19. He possesses the self-awareness that is necessary for the formation of a classic folk song, yet with a modern twist similar to David Bazan. While Moody’s work is that of a songwriter, he is also a multi-instrumentalist in the vein of Kinsella, allowing him a sense of musicianship that few possess. This affinity is what allows him to coordinate each instrument in an arrangement with ease.

    Moody’s eclectic variations on Americana are the result of an upbringing rife with mindful, classic music.

    “Both of my parents really shaped my taste,” Moody said. “My father listened to Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash, while my mother really loved The Beatles.”

    The instrumental hooks he writes into songs like “The Sun Will Rise” can be attributed to these strong pop bases of his youth.

    His muses are different from typical folk themes of death and misery, instead leaning toward emotive storytelling and introspection. Although songs like “Oh The Distance …”, may paint Moody as a man plagued with immense emotional pain, he says his inspiration is much milder than that.

    “Most of the music I write is fictional. I get the emotions from things happening in my life, so in a lot of ways it is really personal, but I usually write about people I know,” he said. “I like to use other people as a cameo.”

    The Balcony Scene demos, rough as they may be, already hint at an evolution of a sound that will suit Moody through the life experiences he will collect, while retaining a youthful point of view. In this craft of music, it’s important for a musician to stay relevant to his listeners, and it seems that Moody understands that.

    “I feel that my music will change with however I change,” he said. “But I don’t see myself changing anytime soon.”

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