OFFSTAGE: Justin Moore’s To-Do List in Heaven

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Country music and mimosas. It’s not a bad way to kick off ACM day. So when I went to a Justin Moore listening party in Las Vegas on Sunday (April 3), it was, well, heavenly. Not just because of the orange-juice-and-champagne concoctions being passed around, but because of the music. Moore said of his upcoming album Outlaws Like Me that he wanted to make an album people will listen to 20 years from now. And after hearing it, I think he’s done just that. And the first song off that album, “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away,” is one I just can’t stop listening to. So I asked Moore what he would do if heaven was indeed not so far away. “I lost my grandpa and he was my hero, so I’d definitely want to go hang out with him. He is better off than we are, in my opinion,” he told me. “When he was in the hospital toward the end, my wife was about six months pregnant and we were visiting him. He was obsessed with me and was my biggest fan. But he got to point where he couldn’t really talk and he had to write on a Magic Marker board. That one day, he wrote, ’I love Ella,’ on this board. So I’d love to introduce them two. He died a few months before Ella was born, but I’ll never forget the image of him writing that on that board.” Moore also told me that while he was up there, he’d like to look up Hank Williams and sing “Your Cheatin’ Heart” with him.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.