Justin Moore Preparing to Turn Back the Clock on His Next Album
With eyes forward, Justin Moore is preparing to time travel to a era of simpler, more sharply-written country music lyrics. His next album will feature instruments you hardly hear on the radio these days. His influences will guide him.
In the year 2018, Moore is hoping to make a great '90s country music album. Yep, as seemingly every '90s sitcom is being dusted off for Netflix and network television, and 20-year-old boy bands and female hip-hop groups remain cleated in the subconscious of youth (walk into any bar and holler "I, I don't want no scrubs" and wait for the inevitable call-back), the "Kinda Don't Care" singer is doing his part. Think Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Tracy Lawrence and David Lee Murphy and you're on the 34-year-old star's wavelength.
“‘Dust on the Bottle’ for instance," Moore — who's set to headline Nashville's Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on Wednesday night (May 2) — tells Taste of Country, referring to Murphy's signature song from 1995. "Probably a Top 5 played country song of all time ... It moved well, it was catchy as heck but it had a pretty well thought-out story in it, too."
That's what he's searching for. So often when a contemporary artist says a song has a '90s feel to it, it's because he features a '90s singer or sings about one. Moore calls out the structural, instrumental and lyrical differences. Even the earworms like Jackson's "Chattahoochee" were purposefully and smartly written. There's a secondary level of depth, beyond instant gratification.
See 50 Essential '90s Country Songs
"We did some different things on the last album that were a little outside the box, which I’m glad that we did. It was fun to do," Moore says. "But coming off of ‘Somebody Else Will’ which was a little bit different for us … it was cool for me to go back to a really traditional sounding single in ‘Kinda Don’t Care’ and that will lead us right into this next album."
Over the last six months Moore says he's written 40 to 50 songs for his next album and is nearing the time to record. His record label is very supportive of an idea he's had his entire career. This is the most clear vision he's had for an album in quite some time, the dedicated traditionalist admits.
If you're a '90s country purist waiting for the inevitable "but ...," here it comes. Moore is hoping to make a '90s country record for today, not 25 years ago. So yeah, he's not going to ignore modern techniques and trends completely (although he hopes to find some of the old studio musicians who populated '90s albums to help cut it), as doing so what make him an extreme outlier, which isn't his goal.
“‘Small Town USA’ sounded like what was on the radio at the time," Moore says referring to his 2009 hit. "There hasn’t been any music that country on the radio in awhile, ... even from us!”
Moore's Ryman Auditorium show will be his first headlining set at the historic venue, and he promises that at least one Grand Ole Opry star and two well-known good friends will join him on stage. The concert is one of the last Hell on the Highway Tour stops, with a hometown show in Little Rock, Ark., closing that chapter on May 11. In between writing and recording his fifth studio album, look for Moore at major country festivals across America this spring and summer, including the 2018 Taste of Country Music Festival in Hunter, N.Y. this June.
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