Dave Moody and the Moody Brothers band became famous in the '80s when their recording of the song “Cotton-Eyed Joe” became an international hit. Then, in the 1990s, Moody resurfaced as one of the nation's most respected gospel music producers, with a label run out of Charlotte.
Today, Moody, 46, is expanding his interests yet again, having just produced and directed his first Christian-themed film, “Praise Band: The Movie” (www.praisebandmovie.com), which won best musical at the 2008 International Christian Film Festival. Following are experts of an interview with reporter Mark Price.
Q. Why the movie business?
It was really a family affair, since my son Josh wrote the screenplay. We both developed the story, and I did the music for it. It was something that I just felt like I wanted to do, and it was an extension of our (Christian) music ministry. … It was filmed in the Charlotte area, Monroe and Lake Park in Indian Trail. … My vision is using the media to entertain and to reach people. We see it as a way to tell positive, family friendly stories. We finished it early this year and it's been hitting the film festival trail.
Q. Will there be more?
We've got several (distribution) deals on the table for “Praise Band” and, while we're waiting for that to get worked out, we've moved forward on a new movie, “Much Ado About Middle School,” and we've gotten commitments from (actors) Lee Meriwether and Greg Alan Williams, who was in “West Wing” and “Remember the Titans.” They loved the script. We'll shoot it next spring in North Carolina and Tennessee.
Q. What's the plot?
It's about a teen pop group, but it's not based on their lives. It's about middle school kids and the struggles they go through. The main boy is not a jock, he's a singer. One of the kids is a dancer. Another is a female cheerleader who gets accused of doing things she didn't do. They come together in an abandoned theater, and meet this black gentleman who they think is homeless. But as it turns out, he owns the theater and let it run down because his wife died. The kids learn he has a son who is trying to take the theater away for financial reasons, so they save the theater by putting on a concert.
Q. Are you still working out of your Charlotte studio?
We relocated the business over the summer to Nashville and we have an office on Music Row. … I have that real estate (in Charlotte) up for sale. … We have the opportunity to be part of the Nashville music industry, and I can literally call some of my favorite musicians and have them play with us. My brother (Trent) has a music school, Lamon Studio of Music in Mint Hill, and we kept a satellite office there.
Q. Will you still focus on gospel?
We're going to venture a little more into mainstream country, because it's so prevalent here. … We won't have to give up anything we were doing, but we will have the opportunity to find better artists. In Nashville, you can go to a karaoke bar and hear some of the greatest singers you've ever heard. They come for their dreams and end up waiting tables. We'll have an opportunity to draw from that talent, and we'll grow from a local recording label to a national label.