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Ashley Jones. Moe’s Music’s co-owner stands inside the business’s record store portion.  / Laura Austin Photo

Joneses ready to move on and sell Moe’s Music

By LAURA QUEZADA News Review Staff WriterFrom its beginnings on Balsam Street, when the music store opened as Moxy’s Music and then sold to Burroughs Graduate Ashley and her husband, Davey Jones, who renamed it Moe’s Music, the store has been a gathering place for musicians and music lovers. The Joneses purchased the store in March 2018 and moved it to its current location at 207 W Ridgecrest Blvd.  They re-imagined it and created a combination record store, music store, and venue. The News-Review published their story in June 2021 when Ashley told us they took the keys for the new location at the end of March, and the next day, COVID shut everything down.

Now the Joneses are ready to move on and sell the store, primarily because their children are growing. The Joneses can’t spread themselves any further to accommodate their kids’ needs for extracurricular activities because both Ashley and David have day jobs. Ashley also owns Mane Envy, a full-service beauty salon at 1309 North Norma.

Ashley tells us, “My kids have grown up here, on Balsam St; that’s where my little man learned to use the toilet. That’s how long we’ve been doing this and that’s how embedded our family has gotten into it. It’s been beautiful. It’s just it’s time for us to move on and get back to us.”  

Over the years, the community has supported Moe’s efforts. On February 10, they announced on social media, “Alright, guys! We have until 5 pm to come up with $5,000 to keep Moe’s doors open!” They didn’t ask for a handout; they threw a big sale. The community rallied, and they met their goal. Ashley explained it was about the electricity bill. Although they knew they were planning to no longer be owners by the end of May, they wanted to keep operational because they had already booked bands and made promises. 

We can thank COVID for that financial hurdle. In 2020 they couldn’t pay their electricity bill. They started paying their current monthly bills but were never able to get caught up. They didn’t qualify for any programs; the electric company wouldn’t give them a payment plan. The electric company informed Moe’s on February 9 about the February 10 deadline. Ashley says, “It’s just another beautiful example of this  music community and how much they want, how much they love the idea of what Moe’s, and how much they clearly get from it.”

Do not lose heart. There are two potential buyers right now.

“I’m really proud of how diverse we’ve been able to be,” says Ashley.  Since Davey is a musician, the first live music at Moe’s was his bands. And then his friends’ bands. “Word got out and now we’re having Heavy Metal Nights; we do folk music. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed having the Daniel Stallings Murder Mysteries here. We have a stage for everybody.

   “They call me the Band Mom. I am here to facilitate what they need to let them feel a little bit like prima donnas. I always make sure I’ve got whatever they like to drink and eat stocked in the back just for them.” She accommodates all of their needs. “This guy doesn’t like sharing his drum kit. This guy doesn’t want to tear it down, so he’s willing to share it and coordinate all of that. That’s part of this job that I actually love the most – logistics, coordinating all of these different musicians. You have three bands in a night. Each one has five or six guys, and making sure every one of them gets to feel like a rock star while they’re here, and whatever that means to them, that’s my favorite. I love it. Then they perform a little better. They give you their all because they’ve been given what they need to succeed at that moment. And I’ve absolutely adored being part of that.”

In September 2022, The News-Review reported about the new jazz band formed at Moe’s Music, with Ashley being the logistics person. She is pleased to announce that they are planning a Speakeasy on April 22 to introduce the band Blue Creosote. She wants to make it special by having a 1920s theme, putting candles on the tables, and encouraging folks to dress semi-formal. Dressing up is optional. The jazz band is looking to add musicians, they have musicians who are not available to rehearse every Wednesday night from 6 pm to 8 pm. They could use a full-time guitarist, bassist, or keyboardist. “We have members that will float around to those instruments for different songs.”

With their love of music, Moe’s has become a breeding/learning ground for musicians and bands. “ I attribute a lot of that to open jams,” says Ashely. “I’ve actually told a lot of people when they come in  and say, ‘Book my band.’ I reply, ‘I’ve never heard of your band. So come play.’ She says that Moe’s Open Jams are one of the amazing things that have happened at Moe’s. “It is such a diverse crowd. I’ve seen people like Kenneth Ramone that have shown up just to enjoy, he always likes to record, and all the way up to his getting on stage for the first time. Just seeing the love and support of everyone pushing these musicians to live their passions, it doesn’t have to be perfect. It just needs to be.

“I have a love/hate relationship with Open Jam. It is completely unpredictable.” People come and ask who is playing, and she has no answer. “There have been nights where we’ve had six different bands show up, and all want to play. We keep it loose with bands because there is a little bit more setup. We try to give them 15 minutes instead of our usual 10-ish minutes. A couple of months ago, we had a night where we had literally six people show up. I think only three or four of them actually had anything prepared. “ What ensued was a four-hour jam session with some of the best blues Ashley has ever heard.

There are many events ahead over these next few months. You can follow them on social media to keep informed of what is going on. Moe’s Music farewell festival is scheduled for all day on May 6. Its current name is “Cinco de Bye-O.” Many familiar Moe’s regular bands have already signed up to play.

“Since it’s a kind of a farewell interview, I want to say a big thank you,” Ashley says. “We bought a tiny little record store on a whim one day, and it never ever would have gotten even half as far as we did without all of the support we’ve gotten from musicians, patrons, and the newspaper. A lot of people have wanted to see this succeed. That’s beautiful, and I appreciate it more than anyone can ever comprehend.”