Steve Moakler Drives Blue-Collar Approach Home on ‘Born Ready’
Steve Moakler's new song "Born Ready" started as an assignment, but quickly became more personal. After being commissioned to write a song for a trucking company, the Pittsburgh-raised, Nashville-based singer-songwriter learned he was writing about himself as much as the long haulers.
"Born Ready" is a modern day trucking song — the latest addition to a canon that's long been dismissed after a heyday in the '70s and '80s. Truckers drive on, however, rarely appreciated with stories never told (unless something tragic happens). As an independent artist that thrives under the radar, Moakler relates. He's logged the miles in his Sprinter van and slept, eaten and showered at Flying J, Pilots and Love's all over America. He has counted the white lines as his heart beat for a chance to see family again. The same blue-collar mold that shaped his Steel Town album (2017) crafted this song.
“In the back of my mind, creatively, that is I guess how I see myself ... as a creative. Being independent for so many years and taking a longer and winding road, but also I’m happy with that," he says. "I tell my guys in the band all the time I feel like we’re a blue-collar band and have been for awhile. Setting up our own stuff, sleeping in truck stops. But I don’t say that and look at the big guys on stage and go, ‘Man…’”
Impatience, frustration and selfishness are not things Moakler is immune to, but after learning the highway that he thought he'd merged onto was more like Atlanta rush-hour traffic than an open Montana freeway on a Sunday afternoon, he decided to quit rushing and quit chasing. Steel Town took place in his hometown.
“Ironically, a record about a town took me on the road more than any of my records have before," he says. Many of the songs from his upcoming Born Ready album were born there, too, but aside from the title track, few promise the same roll-up-your-shirt-sleeves approach.
Listen to Steve Moakler's "Born Ready"
Luke Laird co-wrote "Born Ready" with Moakler after representatives with Mack Trucks asked for a song. Moakler's actual inspiration came from a lyric in "Siddle's Saloon," a song on Steel Town. That song was about a bar his grandfather set up at his house. The same grandfather ran a fleet of Mack Trucks.
“It started as, 'I’m gonna write a song for them' and quickly became ‘Hey, there’s a lot of me in this song, too,'" Moakler says.
Born Ready is also the name of Moakler's current tour, which runs through mid-May. That means more miles on the Sprinter van, more Flying J pizza (a favorite) and more browsing the strange items sold inside truck stops while waiting for a shower. He's not complaining. "The showers I’ve been to are very nice. I was hesitant to embark in the truck stop shower, but I found it a very pleasant experience. I would say it’s like a Hampton Inn shower. A three-and-a-half, four-star shower.”
Take it from a man who knows. You may even pass them on the highway.
Wait, Hold on, Steve! We Have One Last Question!