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Justin Moody: Tiny Desert Concert

Tiny Desert Concerts is a series in which we bring local bands and musicians into the KJZZ studios to play a couple songs and talk about the music.

This month we did things a little differently, and for the first time our tiny desert concert was actually in the desert. Phoenix singer-songwriter Justin Moody performed in a wash in South Mountain’s Box Canyon.

Moody’s music is both melancholic and inspiring. It’s simple, utilizing only guitar and vocals, but the heart of it is in its storytelling.


On his relationship with the desert:
"I love during monsoons and the smell of the [creosote]...we have so many different landscapes in the desert here in Arizona and surrounding Phoenix. And I love nighttime in the desert and driving around with the windows down and just getting like a whiff of the dirt and all the trees and hearing all the animals. I love the desert so much."

On his new album Bruiser:
"Bruiser is really special to me because it's the first piece of music that I've recorded all myself...throughout recording it I moved to another state, and I moved back quickly, and my best friend was in the hospital for a while, and so there were quite a few things that were really important during that. And just the fact that I did it myself and it was my first step towards doing something that I really like to get better at."

On the story behind the song "Orange Blossoms:"
"I'd moved down to Phoenix...and I was working at a nursery that my mom worked at for almost her whole life. And they had a bunch of orange trees in the back, and there was just one day — it was a beautiful day — I had just washed my hands. I had like a little dirt on my wrists, and the sun was coming down and I was walking. I just got this immense smell of orange blossoms and jasmine and it was just a really beautiful smell so I went home and just wrote a song about it."

This performance was filmed at Box Canyon, South Mountain Park. Special thanks to South Mountain Park and to Ranger Justin Olson.

If you’re in a band or know of one you’d like to hear on air, send us a note at  [email protected].

Hear More Tiny Desert Concerts

Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.