Moore Stories


I am pleased to announce the release of a new album done in collaboration with my friend Dory Rebekah Ford. The album is a showcase of some really good music, but it is also a tribute to a very special friendship with Dory's daddy, Jimmy Ford. 



I met Jimmy Ford when I was a student at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville in the early 1980s. When striking up a first conversation with Jimmy, few would have guessed he held such a distinguished rank as Chair of the University’s Foreign Language Department. He came across as a country boy from Alabama—down to earth, kind, courteous, compassionate, and very humble. As we became the best of friends, Jimmy and I shared life’s tragedies and triumphs, joys and heart breaks. We knew that rare bond where two friends are able to look into each other’s soul, see, and unconditionally accept each other exactly as they are. As a linguist, Jimmy had a deep love for words that truly meant something. He was an intellectual giant who was able to craft words that capture the essence of the human condition with all its beauty, ugliness, hope, and ambiguity.  We spent a lot of time together with our two guitars, singing songs we had written and talking about life. I never felt more seen, acknowledged, or appreciated.


When Jimmy’s daughter Dory was born, I went over to see her, held her in my arms, and the two of us became buddies. I watched Dory grow until it came time for me to leave Fayetteville. Dory went on to become a classically trained vocalist, teaching voice and ensemble performance at Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy. As my life journey after college led me far away from Fayetteville, my special friendship with Jimmy transcended time and distance. In 2007 both Jimmy and I were diagnosed with cancer. Jimmy would pass within the next year while I remain, as Luke The Drifter put it, to finish with the scroll.


At Jimmy’s 70th birthday party, the last one he would have, I met Ben Hall, another of Jimmy’s close music friends and the other guitarist on the album. When I contacted Ben about playing with us, he told me, “Paul, I will move Heaven and Earth to be there.” Ben’s artful guitar licks on the album are his own tribute to songs he once thought he might never hear again.


Done in collaboration with Dory Rebekah Ford, this album celebrates and pays tribute to a special friendship with someone I see as truly one of the finest human beings ever to walk the earth. When I reached out to Dory for help, she confided she had been waiting for the chance to collaborate with one of her daddy’s music friends on just such a project.


The selections on the album are a combination of songs written by Jimmy Ford plus some of my own original work.  The songs are representative of our shared perspectives on life; most we actually sang together. Without exception, everyone who was invited to be a part of the project readily grasped the compelling significance of the undertaking and gave it their all—my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to you all.


J. Paul Moore 


My father was a simple yet complicated individual. He raised me to love and respect music, family, education and, above all, friendship. Friends meant the world to my father and any friend was considered family in his mind. He wasn’t always the easiest person, but he was always himself and spoke his truth, which is more than I can say for most people. I loved my father deeply and was lucky enough to have a very rich and meaningful relationship with him. A year before his death, I had decided to begin learning guitar so that I could sing his music and pass it on to my children. Now, Daddy always said you only needed 4 chords to write any song, but when you start playing his music you realize that was all just his humble spirit and good sense of humor. His music is layered, beautiful, profound and, sometimes, wickedly funny, just like my father. It has been a dream of mine to produce my father’s music. I am forever grateful to Paul for contacting me that day and making this dream possible. I so appreciate the passion and hard work that he has done to complete this record. I want to thank all of you who helped to bring this album to life, especially our old friend Ben Hall, and my godfather, JT Rose, my father’s best friend, bassist, confidant and chosen brother in this life. A very special thank you to my mom, who saved my father’s life and continues to support me in each and every single way I could ever dream up. Thank you to my amazing husband, Jesse, for his unwavering support and my two beautiful children, Elisabetta and Eliot, who keep me singing and making music every day.

Dory Rebekah Ford-Sibley

About Mandolin Magic:

In 2007 I was sick with cancer, and I didn't even know if I would live long enough to play music again.  As I sat in the treatment room one day hooked up to the IV,  I decided I wanted to do an album with my long time friends that would feature the Jazz Mandolin.

I had always been fascinated with the jazz styling of Tiny Moore and wanted to play his type of mandolin.  I commissioned Jonathan Mann of Joelton, TN. to build a jazz mandolin similar to what Tiny had.   He was able to finish it for me in about three months, and I was able to play it during the later stages of chemo and radiation therapies. With much prayer and good medical care I went into remission.

It is with pride and humility that we present this collection, and our sincere hope is that it will bring listening pleasure as great as the fun we all had making it.

Paul Moore

The Making of The Mandolin Magic CD

After having played swing and jazz violin for some 25 years,  I sustained vascular damage to my arms as a result of cancer treatment. I can still fiddle, and though my tone is unimpaired, I become fatigued after about half an hour of playing. I had always been fascinated with the jazz styling of Tiny Moore, and I decided to have an instrument similar to his built for me. This type of 5-string jazz mandolin is tuned exactly the same as the 5string violin I had played for years, but it is much easier to hold, and I can play it all day without getting tired. With its short scale, solid body construction, and high quality humbucker pickups, this instrument produces a robust, round tone that is powerful but very pleasing to the ear. Bob Wills coined the phrase, "Biggest little instrument in the world", to describe Tiny Moore's mandolin. Special thanks is due Jonathan Mann of Joelton, TN., "The Mann Who Built The Manndolin."

At the time I commissioned Jon to build my instrument, I was sick with cancer, and I didn't even know if I would live long enough to play it. He was able to finish it for me in about three months, and I was able to play it during the later stages of chemo and radiation therapies. With much prayer and good medical care I went into remission, and after three years, I am still cancer free.

I had previously done a fiddle album, Central Standard Time, in 2001. As I sat in the treatment room one day hooked up to the IV, I decided I wanted to do an album that would feature the Jazz Mandolin. It turned out that four of the original musicians recruited for the project were cancer survivors including myself.  Sadly, three of the four became ill and could not make our recording date. Even though I ended up being the only cancer survivor on the project, I still view this work as a celebration of life and good music.

This musical adventure proved to have many unexpected twists and turns. I decided early on though, to let things go where they wanted to go, rather than trying to force anything. I can honestly say that I am well pleased with the end result. When our originally selected steel guitar player, Chuck Hayes of Muskogee, OK., found that he could not devote adequate time to the project because of his many duties as president of the Western Swing Music Society of the Southwest, Scotty  up his bar and went to work. When our originally chosen drummer, Dave Holter of Kelso, WA., became ill during his cancer treatments,  Mel Buckner of Tulsa, OK., stepped up with brushes in hand. When our original bassist, Pat Goodbla, also of Kelso, WA., became ill as a result of his chemotherapy, Penny Miller of Mountain View, AR., stepped up with her brand new Eminence acoustic-electric upright. 

Then came the blow that threatened to derail the whole project. When we arrived in Tulsa the afternoon of the day before our recording session, I was informed that Gene Gimble, our intended lead guitarist from Tyler, TX., had suddenly fallen ill. Frantically, we began scouring the Tulsa area for someone to fill Gene's spot.

After numerous phone calls, we found Darrel Magee of Inola, OK. Former professor of music and director of the Hank Thompson School Of Music at Rogers State College in Claremore, OK., Darrel came over to the Ambassador Hotel in downtown Tulsa and practiced the material with us.  Afterwards, we secured a room for him, and with guitar in hand, he went up stairs and stayed up all night studying the chord charts. By the time we walked into Drapp studios the next morning, Darrel was on top of our game. I don't know how to thank him enough.

All of the musicians on this project share a deep abiding love of Western Swing. We also believe that the Great American Songbook can be interpreted beautifully within the genre of Western Swing.  With that in mind, I chose to show case some of my favorite  standards.

Little Axe, Paul's Boogie, and the title cut, Mandolin Magic, are original pieces composed within the past year. A Waltz For Yesterday was co-written with my wife of 25 years, Louella Moore. Not only does Louella have the voice of an angel, but she played a vital role in making this recording a success. I thank her for being in my life, and for letting me be in her's. September rain was written 30 years ago during a difficult time in my life, and I think it captures the essence of a young visually impaired man trying hard to find his way in a confusing and convoluted world. 

It is with pride and humility that we present this collection, and our sincere hope is that it will bring listening pleasure as great as the fun we all had making it.

Swing On!

Paul Moore

A Brother in Spirit

Interestingly, I attended first grade with our piano man Robert Huston in Waldron, Arkansas. We were school mates through 10th grade when I moved to another town. We lost touch with each other for over 25 years. Robert read an article about the release of my first CD, Central Standard Time in 2001. This led us to rekindle our friendship and to discover that we had both become great fans of Western Swing after we parted ways from school days.
When selecting musicians for my new Mandolin Magic album, I asked Robert to play piano. What a treat to do a recording project with a fellow first grade class member. Not only did he do a fine job on the piano, but Robert, with his resourcefulness and energy, helped me in innumerable ways, not the least of which is just being my friend. An accomplished photographer in his own right, Robert took the close up of my hand playing the mandolin which serves as a unifying icon in the liner pictures. 

My Acoustic Resonator Mandolin

It is exciting to see the lights come on and the wheels start turning in the mind of a truly gifted and creative person when you present them with a challenge. Such was the case with luthier Dixie Michelle when I told her of my search for a solution to a problem I kept encountering as a jazz mandolin player.

Several years back, I immersed myself in solid body jazz mandolin playing. More can be read elsewhere on this web site about why I made such a change in direction after years of emphasis on violin. As a mandolin player, I would occasionally find myself in situations where there was either no electricity, or I was not permitted to plug up as per the rules of the jam. Some musical towns, such as Mountain View, AR, actually have local ordinances prohibiting the outdoor use of amplified instruments. In truth, I understand this, and I'm sure that the reasons for it are obvious to any seasoned musician who has been around the jam session block a few times. Because I play a single course 5-string jazz mandolin as opposed to the double course 8-string variety, it is very difficult to be heard in an outdoor jam with four or five guitars, a banjo, dobro, and fiddle, not to mention the added ambient noise of people talking and vehicles passing by.

After taking a look at the few double course 8-string resonator mandolins that are being produced, I theorized that perhaps a single course 5-string version could be designed that might meet my needs. When I shared my idea with Tulsa based
luthier Dixie Michelle
, who happens to be a world renowned expert on the old style National resonator guitar, she said, "let me get to work, and I think I can come up with something". As an experiment, she first modified a cheap metal bodied 8-string resonator mandolin into a 5-string. This did prove to us that the concept would work, though neither of us were pleased with the cheap quality and tinny tone of the instrument. She then set to work building from the ground up, the instrument I now play.

It took us a couple of months to decide on all the dimensions and specs, and Dixie and I very much shared the design process. We ended up using the same 1 and 3/16in. nut width and 13 and 7/8in. scale length as my solid body electric. We used a biscuit style Quarterman cone and Grover 18 to 1 tuners. The round body, ingenious hand rest that doubles as a bridge protector, and the configuration of the 42 sound holes, were all Dixie's design. The instrument has a really loud and robust voice that will cut right through a den of acoustic guitars. Thanks Dixie!

Mandolin Magic


Words of thanks to the players:

My good friends, and I do consider each of you to be my friend, I want to thank you for your collective contributions to our recent Mandolin Magic project. You all played great and I was well pleased.

 David and I have played many a gig together, and his superb rhythm work always makes the leads sparkle. Thanks David, for being there.

Scotty played absolutely exquisite steel and yet was able to intersperse his own personality into his playing. You don't bump into this level of talent everyday. Thanks Scotty.
I met Darrel for the first time the night before our session.  How about that? His playing was excellent, and it provided just the right contrast in timbre and expressive approach to bring freshness and needed variation to the mix. Thanks Darrel, for jumping in your car and coming to rescue us at the midnight hour.

I've known Penny for only a couple of years, but the first time I heard her play, I liked her energy. Jazz is a relatively new style for her, but boy can she do it! Penny used this project (very appropriately I think) as a good reason to go ahead and purchase the brand new Eminence bass she played. How's that for commitment to the cause? Good job Penny!

Every time I listen to the CD, I marvel at how Mel keeps things from ever getting boring with his appropriately timed variations in rhythmic style and attack. Mel, I don't think Buddy Rich himself could have done a better job with those brushes. What a shame that your style of playing is in such short supply today.

How often is a musician privileged to do an album with a fellow musician with whom he attended first grade? Not only did Bro. Robert Huston do fine piano work on the project, but he has helped out in more ways than I have paper to mention. With his first class networking skills, he has interested at least three journalists in doing articles on our project. He was responsible for finding Darrel to play with us. His energy and excitement have been invaluable.

My friend Chuck Turner and his wife Diane traveled all the way from Arkansas to be present at the recording session. Chuck did the photography for the project, designed my web site, and lent much moral support. Thanks for the pizza Chuck and Diane.

I would be remiss if I did not thank my wonderful wife of 25 years, Louella Moore for all she has done to make the project a success. She devoted countless hours to research, typing, and general grunt work that I was not able to do. Louella has the highest level of personal integrity of any person I have ever known, and she has been a true angel in my life.

Four years ago, when I was diagnosed with cancer, I thought about foregoing the chemo and radiation and going gently into that good night. I decided not to go gently, and I found the will to fight and beat the cancer for two primary reasons: First, I wanted to spend more time with Louella. Secondly, I was not through playing music. I remain to do both, and these are my priorities.

I'm touched and I'm honored that you all saw that with me, it's always about the music; not ego, not personalities, but the music. Thank you all for getting on the same page with me and making a fine recording that we can all be proud of.

Keep Swinging,



Central Standard Time

It takes time for songs to demonstrate long term, enduring appeal.  The pieces selected for this album are among my favorites.  Listeners will recognize many of the tunes. However, since most of these songs have long since dropped off the popular music charts, this maybe a first acquaintance for some.  To be sure there will be something new for everyone, we’ve used one original blues tune.  Even as new music evolves, it is intimately connected to its roots in the essential standards of the previous era.  As you listen to this music, the recording musicians hope you will agree…it’s always a good time for a standard.


Paul Moore                       5 String Fiddle

KK Kennedy                      Piano

RJ Greenwood                  Lead Guitar

David Staples                    Rhythm Guitar

Perry Kennedy                 Bass

Noah Kee                           Drums


 Recorded February 3, 2001 at:

Blue Chair Recording Studio, Cabot, AR

Engineered by: Darian Stribling

Photography by:  Chuck Turner

Clocks:  Courtesy of Craig Carlson of the

Ideal Clock Shop, Jonesboro, AR

Special Thanks:  To each individual who gave of their time and talent to make this project a reality.  This includes the musicians as well as the many people who have liked my music and who encouraged me to play.  Special acknowledgement is due Mr. Harry E Smith of Fort Worth TX, the finest violin mechanic north of the equator.  Not only has Harry kept my fiddles working well for me the last 10 years, but also he has shown much kindness, support, and encouragement.  Harry introduced me to the fantastic yet not widely known talent of the late Tommy Camfield whose musical craftsmanship any aspiring bow puller would do well to study.  Thanks for everything Harry.


Prominent Musical Influences: Hank Thompson, Johnny Gimble, Tommy Camfield. Thanks, fellows, for your inspiration.


Manufactured by Raney Recording Studio, Drasco, AR 72530

(870) 668-3222    www.raneyrecordingstudio.com