The band Moves
*Editor’s note: Ross Montsinger’s last name was misspelled in the print version of this article. It has been corrected online.
*Editor’s note: According to a post on the band’s Facebook page, “We’ve decided to withdraw from our show tomorrow night at the Blind Tiger as it has come to our attention they will be hosting a musical act later in June whose lyrics are bigoted and hateful towards various races and the LGBTQ+ community. We’re sorry for any inconvenience, but at the end of the day, we believe in investing our art in venues that serve as allies for equality.” The venue was moved from The Blind Tiger in Greensboro to The Ramkat in Winston-Salem. This article has been updated online.
Moves is moving on into the Triad for a show at The Ramkat on June 14.
Folks around these parts may better remember them as Holy Ghost Tent Revival, but the septet is holding their own since moving to Asheville, and standing tall in their new name: complete with a new record, slew of videos, and—in honor of YES! Weekly’s annual pet edition—12 critters among them.
“That averages out to about 1.7 pets per band member,” said drummer Ross “the Sauce” Montsinger.
As for furry friends, on tours, Moves is often accompanied by Louise, a dog so tiny, “she can go pretty much anywhere.” And Whiskey the pit bull, “who’ll pull a Jedi mind trick on anyone tempted to tell us that dogs aren’t allowed,” Montsinger added.
But showing their pups’ old stomping grounds is secondary. The group is more focused on the grand unveiling of their reincarnation.
“We’ve seen so many phases of Greensboro, of the Tiger and ourselves,” Montsinger said of playing a show in their old home town, “the nostalgia is real.”
Moves may have entered a distinct new phase, but they’re fueled by the same old passion: make music, play shows. “I’m excited to reconnect with old friends and know that this show, too, will be looked back upon fondly,“ Montsinger noted.
Basically, the band by another name is still the same bunch of friends who continue to flex tunes as a unit. They may have dropped the banjos long ago, but they’ve gained confidence in their identity, reflected in their fifth album, the appropriately self-titled, MOVES.
Records often serve as a marker of development—a timestamp of sound as it evolves. “We’ve felt suddenly awakened every time we’ve recorded an album,” Montsinger said of the growth they’ve experienced with each release. “It serves as a checkpoint of where we are. We’ve been changing gradually and constantly since we started.”
For Moves, “gradual and constant” finally reached a point of no return. “We were able to marvel at how much we really have changed, and tweaking the name to go with it felt imperative to our identity,” Montsinger said.
But new records aren’t the only thing they’ve been up to in them Buncombe County hills. Moves is proving themselves a band of multimedia, with seven videos released in support of the new record (and more on the way) thanks to manager Jason Mencer.
“Everything has been done in-house, but would have been impossible without him as the mastermind,” Montsinger explained.
For their first video under the Moves moniker, they chose a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter,” put out before any announcements about the name change. “It was nice to see the song gain some traction on YouTube and Spotify without anyone knowing who the band was that released it.”
“Social media and music videos seem to be the best way of expressing your personality these days, and we’re just not as good at social media,“ Montsinger admitted.
But “playing music together is our favorite thing to do,” he noted of their strengths beyond the digital-scape; and the bond which has helped navigate uncharted waters as Moves with confidence to push forward.
“The folks who have been begging us to bring the banjo back have finally given up on that,” Montsinger said contrasting their roots as a sort of college kid Dixieland ensemble. “Our family of long-term fans is made up of people who like when we try new things,“ he added. It’s helped them set sail into new sonic territory.
“I don’t think we’ve ever felt anchored to anything,” Montsinger explained of their niche upbringings, “but a lot of people assumed that we were or demanded that we should be, so it has been most refreshing to effectively communicate that that’s not who we are.”
The road to self-discovery can be bumpy, for bands and people alike.
“I wouldn’t call it a smooth transition,” Montsinger admitted. “It confused a lot of people, but it’s been essential for us, and so that is amazing.”
For Montsinger and the rest of Moves, “to no longer feel trapped in an identity that we don’t relate with, and have the freedom to say, ‘No, we’re this now,’ makes it worth all the headaches and hiccups in the world.”
It takes courage and talent to go from something folks have become familiar with into the identity one has grown into. The freedom to boast who you are—band or person—-is a triumph, and it’s hard to think of a better story for a band born from our weird college town.
Katei Cranford is a Triad music nerd who hosts the Tuesday Tour Report on WUAG 103.1fm.
The band Moves will play at The Ramkat on June 14. Doors open at 7 and the show starts at 8 p.m.