As Justin Moore prepares for the release of his third album, Off the Beaten Path, and a headlining tour featuring his pals Randy Houser and Josh Thompson, the Arkansas native is feeling like the stars have aligned.
“I really can’t explain it,” Moore says. “I don’t know what it is about my career right now, but it feels different. There’s a different energy.”
In this interview with CMT Hot 20 Countdown ‘s Terry Bumgarner, the “Point at You” singer explains how that new energy shows up on Off the Beaten Path, what fans will never see him do in a music video and how he asked Charlie Daniels to sing with him.
CMT: You’re on album number three. Does it get to where the process becomes second nature to you?
Moore: The more you do it, obviously you understand the ins and outs, but I don’t think it gets any easier because this is such a competitive business. In a lot of ways, there was less pressure for this album because we’ve already been able to achieve so many more goals than I ever imagined was possible. But in a lot of ways, I think there was more pressure because I had no idea what I wanted to do with it. And second, the artists that do take that quantum leap from where we are to the next level, they generally do it on this album.
But you would drive yourself crazy if you focused too much on what the album should be. You couldn’t get it done.
You’re exactly right, and I overanalyze everything. The funny thing about the first two albums is I didn’t. I knew exactly what I wanted them to be. I wrote most of the songs, I knew what I wanted to call them and what I wanted them to sound like. For this one, I had no idea. I was stumped. The album just kinda became defined by the songs that I found and the songs that I wrote. I wanted it to be true to who I am and what’s got me here.
“Point at You” is really a love song disguised as something else, isn’t it?
It is. I feel like it’s a real life love song, especially for most guys. I’m sure there are some guys who are a lot better than me, but most of us are idiots. We don’t mean to drink too much and come home late, we just do. It’s not malicious. If we’re in a relationship, we love them and would do anything for them. So that’s kinda what this song is. It’s like, “Look, I ain’t perfect and I ain’t never gonna be perfect. But I promise you I’m gonna try to be.”
You get to do some wild and crazy things in the “Point at You” video.
That was 16 hours of pure fun there. We were kinda going for like an action-movie feel. And the actress in it was obviously beautiful, but she was also really sweet and did a great job.
There were no love scenes, but how did your wife feel about you being in the video with an actress?
Well Peter [Zavadil, the director] asked me early on in the day, “How do you feel about holding hands or hugging or kissing?” I go, “Dude, I feel like staying married is what I feel like.”
You know what? I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that stuff if guys out there feel comfortable doing it. I, however, don’t. And you’ll never see me doing any of that stuff in any of my videos.
I wanted to ask about “Off the Beaten Path” now you have daughters of your own. What are you gonna think if in 12 or 14 years, a boy comes up in his truck to pick up your daughter with that blaring out?
I’m gonna show him my gun case and make sure he’s aware of the fact that I know people that can hurt him!
Funny story about that song. I was on Jake Owen‘s bus. He and I are good friends. We were both listening to music for upcoming albums, and I was like, “Dude, if you hear anything that you’re not gonna cut that you think I might like, let me know — and vice versa.” And he said, “I heard this song called ‘Off the Beaten Path,’ but I thought it was too country for me.” I said, “I just heard that same song, and I thought it was too rock for me!” It’s one of those songs that I love more and more now, and I wouldn’t have cut that song early in my career.
What was it like getting Charlie Daniels to record with you?
Charlie Daniels is one of my three or four heroes in music and one of the greatest guys you’ll ever meet. I was writing “For Some Ol’ Redneck Reason,” and while I was writing the last verse I go, “Man, I hear Charlie Daniels singing this. I don’t know how I’m gonna pull this off, but I gotta get him on this somehow.”
Coincidently, we happened to be playing a show with him, and I stood in his meet-and-greet line to say “Hey,” and I thought, “You know what? I’m just gonna ask him.” I said, “This is probably not the most appropriate time to ask this, but I’ve got to. I wrote this song, I’m gonna put it on my next album. I have no idea when I’m cutting the album. I don’t know what it’s called, but I would love for you to be on this song.”
He said, “What’s it called?” I said “For Some Ol’ Redneck Reason.” He said, “I would never do a redneck song,” and then he kinda chuckled. He said, “I’ll tell you what, buddy, you tell me when and where, and I’ll be there.” That’s my proudest moment as a songwriter, to have one of my heroes not only sing on a song but also play fiddle.