Local guitarist performs


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Although he doesn’t like to brag about it, local musician Dave Moore has had an interesting life.

From picking fruit in South America to teaching art in prisons across Iowa, Moore’s experiences have combined to develop his eclectic music.

He will play at 8 p.m. Friday at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., with rising local musician River Breitbach of River and the Tributaries and friend Al Murphy. Admission is $7.

The 58-year-old Cedar Rapids native first began playing music at the age of 21, when his mother bought him a harmonica for Christmas. Since then, the mainstays of his music have revolved around genres of blues, folk, jazz, and country music.

“Those all influenced me in a way that I was lucky to experience them,” Moore said. “I just started playing it, and I couldn’t stop.”

After discovering his newfound relationship with his harmonica, he began to play the guitar, thus starting a new career with music that has spanned more than three decades, numerous albums, and international tours.

This is far from Moore’s first show at the Mill. He’s has been performing his mix of blues, folk, and conjunto music at the establishment for the past 30 years and is a seasonal staple.

“One of the great things about his music is that he’s so diverse,” said Sam Locke-Ward, the event coordinator at the Mill. “He draws a crowd, and people like him.”

When he plays solo gigs, Moore typically plays a guitar and harmonica and occasionally brings out a button accordion.

Moore was first exposed to the accordion while traveling through South America, where he worked as a fruit picker and in various other occupations. However, it was a trip to South Texas that introduced Moore to the local Mexican-American and Northern Mexican music scene.

In 1985, during the production of his first album, Moore learned how to play conjunto music with help of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts with conjunto legend Fred Zimmerle.

In addition to making music, he also served as an educator. For some time now, he has participated in arts residencies in local elementary schools, nursing homes, and prisons across Iowa, where he teaches songwriting under the auspices of the Iowa Arts Council.

The artist was granted an award for literacy by the Iowa Council of Teachers of English in 2002.

“This is an experience that many kids don’t have,” Moore said, emphasizing his beliefs that there is a current lack of live music within communities and families. “There is something about being around live music that fulfills the part of a kid.”

The musician also noted that it is important for both children and adults to know the true origins of different types of music. He cited the benefits of those legacies so that their roots aren’t skewed by contemporary artists.

“It’s good for kids to know that it [music] didn’t come from Lady GaGa or Michael Jackson,” Moore said.

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