One Frozen Moment

One Frozen Moment

Arkansas duo remembers day life changed

0629 TFW Handmade Moments COVER

Photo courtesy: Anna Moss

Anna Moss, one half of the folk/funk duo Handmade Moments, says the biggest change she’s experienced since surviving a serious car crash with her partner and bandmate, Joel Ludford, last year is not taking people for granted. “People who spend a long time together do that sometimes and don’t even think about it. You get annoyed with somebody because there’s a stupid thing they do all the time, but just imagine if they just disappeared tomorrow. That was almost a reality for us, and remembering that is really intense — it puts you in check, you know? Makes you want to be better to everybody. Be a better person, be nicer, kinder.”

For a duo who’s spent the last three years traveling on-and-off across North (and South) America — two people who feel they have good homes in places like California and Argentina — Arkansas is still special.

“I just feel super connected to that place,” says Anna Moss, one half of the Fayetteville group Handmade Moments. “There’s a lot of places we feel at home at, but Arkansas is like home, home. I see so many amazing people I’ve grown up with, and amazing places and land and smells that I’ve smelled my whole life. Getting back to the air there is so nice and so grounding for me.”

Moss and her musical other half, Joel Ludford, will be breathing that sweet Natural State air again several times this summer — the first being this Saturday in the North Forest at Crystal Bridges Museum. Even loyal fans may not recognize most of the tunes in their set, though, because Moss says much of the music they play nowadays hasn’t been recorded yet. The group’s second album, “Eye in the Sky,” was released in late 2015 but by May of 2016, they were ready to record some more.

The two were on their cross-country tour and planning to lay down some new tracks when they reached California. Traveling in their converted school bus, Moss, Ludford and two friends were just outside Sacramento, Calif., on May 23 when a truck and SUV collided and drifted into their lane, both hitting the bus head-on.


“We were about to record another album. And then the wreck happened, and all of our instruments were destroyed,” Moss says.

Suffering from a concussion, Moss was taken to a different hospital than Ludford, who was flown to a level-one trauma center by helicopter. After working through her initial shock and confusion and being discharged from the hospital, Moss recalls her joy at realizing Ludford and her two friends were alive.

“We were both stoked, honestly,” she shares. “We were both like, ‘Thank God!’ Because there’s that moment where you think that everything could be f***ed and the person you spend your life with could be dead. And that is the most depressing, saddest feeling in the whole world. Then when you realize that’s not the case, you’re like, ‘Yes, it’s all good!’ That’s all that matters; everything was destroyed, but we’re alive and we’re going to recover. Yeah, there were bad days, but for the most part, we were just turbo-charged. We were super-ready to overcome that and get back to what we want to do.”

Photos of the bus following the accident show a completely smashed front-end. Where Ludford’s legs would have been as the driver, only twisted metal and the crumpled front of the bus remained.

“Most all of his injuries were from the waist down,” Moss remembers of the month Ludford was hospitalized. “One of the first things he checked was his fingers and his hands. He could play, so he was playing in the hospital, and I think that was helping him a lot — because he wasn’t able to walk for three months, and he would have gone crazy if he couldn’t play music.”

0629 TFW Handmade Moments COVER

Photo courtesy: Anna Moss

On the Cover: Northwest Arkansas duo Handmade Moments return to their home state for two shows this weekend.


Those plugged in to the Northwest Arkansas music scene may remember this period of recovery because several fundraisers and benefit concerts were organized to support the duo. The bio diesel-fueled bus — which was covered in designs by an Argentine artist friend and had a stage and solar panels welded to the top — was out of commission, many instruments were damaged beyond repair, and the pair needed to rent a place with wheelchair access when they returned to Arkansas for their recovery.

“People really came together for us, and I couldn’t have imagined that, but I’m so grateful,” Moss says. “I would have probably never done a fundraiser — I was still recovering from a concussion; I wasn’t really in the head space to do anything, other than chill out and try to take care of Joel. But I don’t know how we could have gotten along without it, looking back. It was just so beautiful and so amazing, and it really made us feel cared for.”

The community cared for them, then Moss and Ludford took some time to care for themselves. The pair spent three months — stationery for the first time in forever — resting, eating, healing and writing music. It was almost like vacation, Moss says, except for the fact they were healing from traumatic injuries. When they found themselves ready and capable again, Moss says it was never a question of if they’d return to the road. The nomadic lifestyle is so much a part of who Handmade Moments is that Moss and Ludford were eager to get back to it.

“There’s a lot of people who have the mindset, I’ve noticed, if they’ve never left their home, they aren’t interested in their home and they’re like, ‘You guys are so lucky because you get to travel. It sucks here.’ But wherever we are, it’s usually beautiful! But I think at the same time, traveling makes you appreciate where you’re from, no matter where you’re from.”

0629 TFW Handmade Moments COVER

Photo courtesy: Anna Moss


Their new van is still coming along, but it is a constant labor of love. Moss reveals she and Ludford travel with their own mechanic’s jumpsuits and are learning more than they could have anticipated about cars in being on the road and taking care of many repairs themselves. Despite a few frustrations here and there, the van, affectionately called Gary, is a comfortable space to call home. With an interior covered in California Redwood and Arkansas cedar — gifted from friends — two twin beds with storage underneath, and even a small kitchenette, Gary is like a cozy traveling greenroom for the musicians.

With the space and the time now to focus on their new music, Handmade Moments will record fresh material in the fall — maybe even two albums, Moss says. And you can of course expect the folk-feeling, R&B/soul-tinged lyrics of any new work to be as cheeky and challenging as ever in response to the social and political happenings since their last release.

“My friend says it best. He says, ‘When times are good, musicians get lazy. But when everything sucks, people are inspired to write good music.’ I think tension and conflict help you grow.

“Tension and conflict help you create and make something cool, or something new or something to share. If everything was good all the time, you wouldn’t have anything to inspire you, I don’t think.

“I think that’s kind of the point of any art, is to be reflective of the times,” Moss continues. “And right now, the times are controversial, and there’s a lot to think about. A lot of people are being manipulated, and there’s a lot of people being taken advantage of. So it’s important, at least for me, to try to make music that inspires people to think about things that maybe they’ve never thought about before. Just [encouraging] people [to] hold themselves accountable for what’s going on and how they affect the world around them.”



Handmade Moments

WHEN — 8:30 p.m. Saturday

WHERE — Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville

COST — Sold out

INFO —;, 418-5700

BONUS — You can also catch Anna and Joel on Sunday at Stone House in Eureka Springs, Aug. 22 at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks and at the Hillberry Harvest Moon Festival in October.


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