November 2017 marked Justin Moore’s 10-year anniversary as a signed artist on the Big Machine imprint, Valory Music Co.
Since the 2009 launch of his lead single, “Small Town USA,” he has amassed six No. 1s on Billboard’s country airplay chart and sold millions of albums. Both his self-titled and Outlaws Like Me albums have been certified platinum, and Off the Beaten Path has gone gold.
And he’s never compromised his hard country sound through all the changing trends within his first decade of hits.
“It’s tough [to stick to your guns] because I’ve probably missed out on opportunities that otherwise I would have had … I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told to take my cowboy hat off so I’d be on TV more,” Moore admitted to CMT.com. “But to me, it was never about that. It was about longevity and doing what you love. I got into this because I love doing it.
“Fortunately our fans have never wavered. They’ve always been there.”
Moore’s current single “Kinda Don’t Care” is rising during a nostalgic season in country radio when everything old is new again.
Nineties country star (and one of Moore’s musical heroes) David Lee Murphy has a Top 10 hit this week with his Kenny Chesney collaboration, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.” At No. 12, Jake Owen’s new single “I Was Jack (You Were Diane)” leans heavily on the melody in the John Mellencamp classic “Jack & Diane.” These songs currently share the same chart space with music by today’s class of traditional voices like Moore, Ashley McBryde, Luke Combs and Jon Pardi, as well as well as pop country by Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum, Dan + Shay and more.
Moore added that he’s never had an issue with the fact that there’s always been a type of country music for just about any taste. But he prefers his timeless.
“I think it’s more important [for artists] to make music that people are going to be listening to 30 years from now when they ain’t on any chart rather than trying to write a song that’s going to be a hit record in three months,” Moore said. “Hopefully, we’ve written some of the timeless few.”
While “Kinda Don’t Care” continues its rise up the charts, Moore is already looking ahead to his next project. He has at least 30 originals to pick from for his next collection.
“I’ve said in interviews for years that if I could record any album I wanted to, it would be one that sounded like it came out in the ‘90s. So, we’re doing a really traditional ‘90s sounding album.”
To capture that ‘90s country sound, Moore has spent time with some of the first albums he ever bought with his own money; like Mark Chesnutt’s Longnecks & Short Stories.
“I think I was eight years old with no responsibilities whatsoever when that music was the soundtrack of my life,” Moore said. “Hank Williams Jr., Alan Jackson, David Lee Murphy, Daryle Singletary … I could go on.”
Moore makes his headlining debut at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on Wednesday (May 2).