Byrd Moore was born (as William B. Moore) in 1889 in Blackwater, VA. A gifted guitarist and singer, he drifted through Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia and Tennessee most of his life, making money as a barber when he wasn’t playing music. He lived in Whitesburg, KY where he married in the early 1920’s. When he was in KY he lived briefly with the family of Fiddlin’ Powers and taught Carrie Bell Powers to play guitar. In the mid-1920s he played regularly with Dock Boggs in and around Wise Co. Moore worked regularly and recorded with fiddler Melvin Robinette in 1929. He also spent some time performing with Burnett and Rutherford in Monticello KY. Between 1928 and 1932, Moore was a profilic recording artist – often with other musicians and sometimes with his own band, the Hot Shots (1929 for Columbia and 1932 for Gennett). In 1930 he recorded “Jake Leg Blues” for Superior Records in Richmond Indiana.
Moore must have met Earl Johnson at one of the many fiddler’s conventions he traveled to in the region. Moore played in Johnson’s short session March 23, 1927 in Atlanta (including the songs “Boil Dem Cabbage Down” and “Shortnin’ Bread” and the ruckus “I Don’t Love Nobody”) and then was replaced by Red Henderson for the two Oct. 1927 sessions for Okeh. After Henderson joined the band the name was changed for a while to Earl Johnson and His Dixie Clodhoppers. Moore never recorded with Johnson again. He was a rambler who never stayed in one place for too long but managed to record and play with many of the top performers of the 20’s and 30’s: Fiddlin Powers Family; Earl Johnson; Dock Boggs; Clarence Ashley; Melvin Robinette; Burnette and Rutherford; Clarence Greene and Jess Johnston
During the 1930s he was married to a bootlegger in Esserville, VA. He became burdened by a difficult drinking problem and diabetes in the 1940s. In the late 40s he was found broke and in ill health in a Wise County Poorhouse where he died in 1949.