Restorative Returns

Restorative Returns

Arkansas band home for new release


Any fans of Fayetteville darlings Handmade Moments — they may feel at home in places across North and South America, but we’ll always claim them! — know their music and their activism are one in the same. So it’s hardly unexpected when a conversation about their upcoming vinyl release also weaves in and out of systemic inequality, environmental destruction and food insecurity while also discussing touring, writing and recording.

Anna Moss and Joel Ludford make up the multi-instrumentalist duo Handmade Moments. Nearly impossible to confine to a genre box, the folk/hip-hop, R&B/soul-tinged duo are constantly working on so many projects and collaborations, they almost seem like a new band every time they come back to visit their home state.

They’ll be at George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville April 19 to celebrate their 2018 album “Paw Paw Tree” being released on their first ever vinyl, but will also perform plenty of unrecorded music. After that, it’s a whirlwind of touring; a forthcoming cover album; recording another album of original, activism-centered music; and a planned string of pop singles unrelated to anything else on their plate.

“We want to put out some really dancey, well-polished pop music. Songs that don’t really have too much topical significance, they’re just a good-sounding song that makes you feel good,” Ludford shares, excited at the prospect of producing singles for their own merit. “Singles are back, hardcore. And I love it. It allows artists to be way more diverse, too.”

The pair have been traveling the world constantly for the last five years, only “settling down” for one three-month stint in all that time. Now, they’ve decided to try being “stationary” for the first time in ages (while still touring like crazy) as they call an actual house in New Orleans home for the rest of the year.

“As a music lover and listener, it’s the most incredible house in the most incredible neighborhood in the country in my opinion,” Ludford enthuses. “Whenever I want, I can walk out my door and go see world class musicians just shred it. Then I get inspired by that and I get to walk back to my house and play more music. Coming here is kind of like coming to school; you know you’re going to learn a bunch in this city that has seen it all.”

It’s his musical education that is being enriched, Ludford explains, as he soaks up the blend of European, African and Native styles that have infused the New Orleans culture. But his activist side is also getting a crash-course in hard truths, and that’s a different kind of motivation.

“Being in Louisiana is like, just waves of oppression that people have been through hit you all the time. I get hit with waves of depression really hard in this city. But I realized it’s because this is a f***ing heavy city, man,” he reveals.

“This is where slavery began and thrived, it was a huge slave port. It’s where the oil industry, which is currently killing the planet and poisoning all of our people and destroying the environments, where that’s located. It’s at the mouth of the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico, which is the largest dead zone in the world because of the agriculture that we practice in the United States and the annual runoff. It’s a lot to deal with, but it also gives you a lot of inspiration.”

Coming back to Arkansas is always a renewal for Ludford and Moss. This trip, Ludford is especially looking forward to recharging his spirit as he washes away some of the heaviness of New Orleans by jumping into the White River — and the King’s River, if there’s time — and recharging his soul and his chi as he fills up on Arkansas food and friends.

“Every time I go to Fayetteville, the most impactful thing I do in within the city limits of Fayetteville for my soul and my personal growth is I go to Tri Cycle Farms and I just walk around this beautiful farm/garden/forest/park that Don [Bennett] has created with the help of the community,” Ludford says importantly. He even offered to bring with him more trees to plant but Don had to turn them down, Ludford explains happily, because they’re completely out of space. What they need instead, he goes on, is a refrigeration unit to support the food rescue program the nonprofit conducts. By collecting still viable food that is passed the sell-by date, Tri Cycle donated more than 130,000 pounds of food to food insecure people just in 2018.

“So they’re really helping to tackle that problem in a practical, hands on way, immediately. Being in a physical space where there’s been all this work done and this unity between humans and the natural world is a really refreshing thing.”



Handmade Moments

with Nathan & Jessie, and Air Loom

WHEN — 9:30 p.m. April 19

WHERE — George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville

COST — $10-$12

INFO — 527-6618,,

Categories: Music