Jude Moses announces their sophomore album The Beauty – releasing April 22nd on Four Finger Records. Up now on all streaming services.
The Beauty is a love letter to the beauty in this world and in our lives. Songwriter and vocalist Stephen Williams sings to the mystery of the wild and reminisces on a childhood spent amongst dusty pale horses and Georgia pines. A harmonic symposium, every inch of this record is dressed with layers upon layers of carefully crafted overtures and runways. His unalloyed vocal tone-as ever, the signature element to his work.
Jude Moses, comprised of Willams and his collaborators, Jesse Proctor, Shae Wooten, and Kevin Smith each have their own musical careers and creative ventures, but in this project they come together with a shared passion for attention to detail and craft in the studio. Recorded in Seattle, Washington and Charlotte, North Carolina, co-produced by Proctor and Williams, this is Jude Moses’ second record and a follow-up to their debut record We Won’t Die, released in 2015.
This six song album invites listeners to explore the expanse of this world and traverse the fragile earth in a new light. This is perhaps summed up best in, The Multicolored Beast, where Williams writes “I want to see the beauty of the world with you”. The record is laden with tales of friendship, a hope for oneness and deep longing for the restoration of all things. Check out the exclusive interview below:
1. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how you got started?
Stephen Williams (songwriter for Jude Moses): I grew up in Vidalia, Georgia, home of the famous Vidalia Sweet Onion. Music was always playing in our house growing up. Our parents weren’t “musical” but adored the art of music and it was genetic. I started learning drums at 10, then guitar a year later. Started taking some piano lessons at 15 then banjo at 16. I was always hungry to learn a new instrument. Eventually moving to Charlotte, NC when i graduated high school, i started playing and gigging here and there around town. Developing more and more in my songwriting, i moved to Northern Ireland and started a duo folk group called Sons of Caliber. We gigged all over the Emerald Isle and that’s we’re i really started developing a love and obsession with vocal harmonies. After a while i finally returned back to the Queen City and formally started my own proper outfit titled “Jude Moses”.
2. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
SW: For each instrument i learned, i would have about 3 or 4 lessons and then started my self taught journey.
3. Who were your first and strongest musical influences and why the name ‘Artist’?
SW: Growing up, me and my dad would constantly listen to our lord and saviors, The Beatles. Their melodies and songwriting were and still are so addictive. Later in life, Midlake, Paul Simon and Fleet Foxes became massive influences with harmonies and song arrangements.
The name Jude Moses came very organically. I was sitting at my sister’s house one day on the computer in the Facebook page with Band Name tab open trying to think of band name. Out of nowhere my nephews, Jude and Moses, came running in the kitchen wanting to play. I typed “Jude
Moses” and didn’t look back”. I think the rest of my niece and nephews are jealous now.
4. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
SW: Well right out of the gate, I’ll have to say the harmonies and melodies. Also, and this is nothing new with folk music, but we tend to lean organically with our instrumentation. I’ve always called it a “poor man’s CSNY”
5. For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style, which is known as INDIE?
SW: So in terms of the actual sonic music, i think with The Beauty we came into our own sound much more. We Won’t Die was a lot more “run and gun” with some song ideas and a lot younger mindset. And honestly, WWD didn’t really have all the harmonies that we could’ve used. The Beauty has triple the vocal track in it and it feels much more like “Jude Moses”. We usually get compared to Fleet Foxes and i love that cause they are the gold standard of that chamber vocal harmony. However, we really pulled from Midlake harmonies. Theirs are a lot tighter and less reverb. You hear more nuisance that way.
7. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfilment as the amount of work you are putting into it, or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
SW: i don’t know how to word this without sounding pretentious but i actually really enjoy this record. I think it’s really pretty and sonically beautiful. We went into the studio wanting to create something beautiful and genuine and i think it is. Of course I’d like for as many ears that can hear to be able to but it’s never been the goal to be headliner at Coachella (I’d actually love to preform on SNL). I want this record to help folks rekindle a connection with love ones and this earth we’re on more than anything.
8. Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
SW: So with Jude Moses, I’m the primary songwriter and will take the lead with melodies and lyrics. For this record, I flew to Seattle to collab with Jesse Proctor on production and arrangements of songs. Once we have a majority of the song arranged, we bring in Shae Wooten on bass and Kevin Smith on guitar. These guy are the most creative minds i know with parts & hooks and they add so much color to the songs. For this record, Jesse, Shae, Kevin and myself played all the instruments except for horns. We called in our buddy Josh Brown for that and he crushed it.
9. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your life or music career so far?
SW: well on a personal level, my parents got a divorce not long ago and it was incredible hard on our family. Married for 30+ years and they called it quits.
In a music career, i don’t know we’re still up and coming so we haven’t had a lot of big blows to be honest.
10. On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your life or music career so far?
SW: personally, I’m one of six kids and after the divorce, we all grew really close together. We’re all pretty much best friends and constantly hang out.
Musically, this record has been the thing I’ve been most proud of. I’m so stoked on the art we’ve created and i hope folks love it like we do.
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