Fiddlin’ Dwight Moody passes

moodyDwight Moody, noted fiddler, music businessman, and pastor, passed away this morning at the age of 83.

He had developed a respiratory virus in December of 2011 while touring in Europe, from which he never fully recovered, and was living in a senior center near Charlotte, NC when he died.

Born and raised in Virginia, Moody lived much of his life in North Carolina. His musical career began in 1945 when he formed The Virginia Playboys while still in high school. Just two years they had a radio show in Blackstone, VA on WKLV.

The band moved to Florida soon after to work for the Nu-Grape Bottling Company, broadcasting from Jacksonville on WOBS. 1948 found Dwight in Durham, NC working for Tommy Little on WTIK. There he became acquainted with Tommy’s sister, Cathy, who Moody would eventually marry. They were together almost 50 years until she died from cancer in 2003.

Dwight was back to Virginia in 1950 to attend business college, and was drafted into the Army in ’51. After two years in the service, including time in Korea, he returned to Durham, married, and started work in the insurance field. Soon the ministry called him, as the military had before. Moody attended school and graduated from Methodist College in Fayetteville, all the while continuing to play music, as he was also serving as pastor for nearby churches.

Fiddlin' Dwight Moody

In 1966 he began dedicating his time to teaching music, opening a studio in Locust, NC which later was relocated to Charlotte. Then in ’72, Moody opened his own publishing company, Laymond Music, which went on to become a record label as well. During this same period he and his wife were featured on The Dwight & Cathy Moody Show on WCTU in both Greensboro and Charlotte.

His sons, Carlton, Dave, and Trent, received a pair of Grammy nominations as The Moody Brothers for their arrangements of Cotton Eyed Joe and The Great Train Song Medley.

The early 1990s found Dwight performing with the WBT Briarhoppers, a band that has been in operation since 1934, though with members moving in and out over that time. After he took ill in 2011, Dwight retired from the group, but dedicated himself to training his replacement, young Hannah Flowers.

Moody will be sorely missed within the central North Carolina music scene, and remembered by the many people who have enjoyed his music all these years.

R.I.P. Dwight Moody.

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John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.