Who’s Gonna Fill Justin Moore’s Shoes?

He's Pulling for Thomas Rhett as ACM's New Artist of the Year

Before Justin Moore won his ACM Award for new artist at last year’s show, he’d told me all about how he was feeling.

He said what was on his mind about his nomination (“Maybe this means more to me than I ever thought it did”) and about fellow nominees Kip Moore and Brett Eldredge (“We’ve all got music in us. And we all have the same goal when we walk onstage.”)

So when I talked with Moore on Wednesday (March 11), I had to ask how he felt about what was happening in the new artist category this year. The nominees are Sam Hunt, Thomas Rhett and Cole Swindell.

All good choices, but Moore would love to see Rhett take home that particular trophy.

“I’ll tell you who I want to win: Thomas Rhett. We are really, really good friends,” Moore said. “I don’t really know the other guys. And I’m not saying they don’t deserve it. They do. But personally, I’m pulling for T.R. He’s in a different lane right now than most people, and he’s making that work. More importantly, he’s just a really good person, and I have a lot of respect for him.”

Whoever wins on April 19, Moore knows exactly how they will feel.

“First and foremost, it feels great when they call your name,” Moore said. “It was an incredible night for me so many reasons. It was great for me to experience that and for my friends and family and fans, too. I don’t think it will have any bearing on the trajectory of my career, but for me personally, it was huge.”