Rod Moag

Rod Moag
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Rod Moag is a country music personality and entertainer who in real life is Dr. Rodney Moag, tenured Professor of South Asian languages at the University of Texas. Versatility marks both sides of Rod's dual life. Musically, he covers a wide range of instruments and genres. His new album, Ah-haaa! Goes Grass: A Bluegrass Tribute to Bob Wills, finds him doing lead and harmony vocals handling all of the guitar and most of the mandolin work, plus dobro, harmony fiddles and viola. In addition to bluegrass and western swing, he regularly holds forth in classic country, rockabilly, blues, pop standards, and even Irish ballads. Gigs with his Austin band, Texas a la Moag, also include occasional conjunto and cajun numbers, and Italian songs. Rod's university activities are no less varied. Besides teaching Hindi and Malayalam - two languages from India - he speaks Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German and some Russian, and teaches seminars on linguistics and communication. 7nbsp; The Pickin'-Singin' Professor has garnered several noteworthy awards in recent years. In 1995 he won the Jimmy Rodgers yodeling Contest at the Texas Heritage Music Festival in Kerrville, TX singing his own Yodel Lullaby, the final track on his solo album. He had previously taken second place in both guitar and mandolin contests at the 1994 Round Rock Bluegrass Festival. Rod was twice voted "Human Being of the Year" in the Music City Texas Poll, and received Honorable Mention in the category of 1995 "Artist of the Year." As if this weren't enough, his weekly two-hour deejay show - The Country, Swing, and Rockabilly Jamboree, heard on Austin's community radio station KOOP-FM, received an award in the Austin Chronicle's "Best of Austin" media category. In 1998 the show, Strictly Bluegrass, on which Rod is one of the hosts, was acknowledged. A lengthy feature on Rod's schizophrenic life of country musician and professor appeared on Texas Country Reporter, seen in 22 markets in and around Texas. 7nbsp; Rod's new Textracs album is getting lots of notice from deejays, fans, and pickers alike. With 20 guests, including Bob Wills' niece, Dayna, and a 24-page booklet packed with photos and information, this has to be one of the most ambitious projects to come from a private label. Born in 1936, the story of Rod Moag's musical development is much like that of many country performers, except that the rural area he grew up in is in Western New York State, not Appalachia. From earliest childhood he was fascinated with radio and country music. He learned country songs by tuning in to local country performers and to major stars on the National Barn Dance and the Grand Ole Opry. He learned bluegrass from Bill Monroe on the Opry, and from regional acts on the Wheeling Jamboree, and the Old Dominion Barn Dance. At the same time he was learning Texas swing from 78s by Bob Wills, and Al Dexter. Receiving an old guitar at age eleven, he won his first amateur contest after just two months, then began adding mandolin, dobro, and later fiddle to his battery of instruments. The New York State School for the Blind which Rod entered just before his fifth birthday provided sound musical as well as academic training. From sixth grade on he sang in the choir, played in the school orchestra, the dance band, and had his own country and bluegrass group called the Oldtime Hay Balers. After graduation it was the typical aspiring artist story: factory job, weekend live radio show, and local club dates. Finding stardom elusive, Rod entered Syracuse University in 1957 to study broadcasting and foreign languages. He spent a semester in Italy and played with a local pop band there. Country remained his first love, however, and after Italy he joined a country group entertaining at military bases around Munich. In college he became close pals with some students from India, and decided to study the languages of that country. He left graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, to spend two years in India, studying and, of course, entertaining friends and at public functions with his country songs. While working on his Ph.D. at Wisconsin, Rod was a founding member of The Bluegrass Hoppers. Their hour-long TV special made the rounds of NET stations. Rod did most of the arranging for the group, composing two songs for their vinyl album which received a three-star rating from Bluegrass Unlimited. He also released a single of two original country songs cut in Nashville with backup by Kitty Wells' band and Jerry Rivers, fiddler in Hank Williams' Drifting Cowboys. Life as a fulltime professor took Rod first to the University of Missouri, next to the Fiji Islands as Visiting Fulbright Professor, and then to the University of Michigan. Though these years were also filled with raising a family, Rod's dual life continued. On the professional side, he authored two language textbooks and many professional articles. In Missouri he played bluegrass festivals as a solo act and did two duets with Rusty Marshall on a compilation album of Missouri bluegrass acts. In Michigan he did a weekly live "Country Classroom" show over public station WEMU. What he's doing in Austin is just the latest chapter in a lifelong story. With the wide distribution of his new album the Pickin'-Singin' Professor is booking festival and other dates. he is particularly open to international gigs. After all, what other artist could perform several genres of country music authentically, and greet fans in their own language in countries from Europe to India?
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Average Rating : 5              Total Reviews: 1

Rod Moag  11/06/2005            
John Burris
I like Rod....he is very talented and very cool.
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