When first introduced to Justin Moore music, I tried to search for a description of what I was hearing. It was not as easy as I expected, even though the music was straight forward and uncomplicated. I then stumbled upon what a music critic said about Moore. Steve Leggett of Allmusic describes him as having “a ready-made image. He was that good kid from a small town with a rowdy heart of gold who just happened to be able to sing about it.” After reading what Leggett said I could not agree more. This was Justin Moore in a snapshot.
Justin Cole Moore was born March 30, 1994 in Poyen Arkansas. Growing up in a small town and becoming a star football player in high school, you might think Moore would pursue an athletic career. However, music would be his destiny. “I was one of the only kids back there that didn’t want to get the heck out of Dodge,” he says. “I wanted to stay home and eat Mama’s cooking until I was 30. I loved living there. My dad was the one who said, ‘What do you think about playing music for a living?’ Growing up in a town of 300 people, I didn’t know you could do it for a living. So their support was huge.”
After graduating, he joined his uncle’s Southern rock band and moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 2002. He met a young producer in Nashville, Jeremy Stover, who introduced him to Scott Borchetta, an industry executive who was planning to launch The Valory Music Co. Borchetta promised to give him a record deal if he would be patient.
In mid-2008, Moore signed to the Valory Music Group, an imprint of the independent record label Big Machine Records. The label then released the digital single “I Could Kick Your Ass”. His first radio single, “Back That Thing Up”, was co-written by Randy Houser and Moore’s producer, Jeremy Stover. It reached number 38 on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. He continued working on his début album, which was part of a special promotion called “So You Want to Be a Record Label Executive”. This promotion placed his music on social networking sites such as MySpace and iLike, where fans were allowed to create playlists comprising ten of his songs; the Top 10 songs picked were then included on the final album. His next single, “Small Town USA”, entered the charts in February 2009, followed by a digital EP entitled The “You Asked for It” EP.
On August 11, 2009, the label released his self-titled début album, on which he co-wrote nine of the ten tracks. This album debuted at No. 3 on the Top Country Albums chart. He promoted the single and album on a “Small Town USA” tour which began in his hometown of Poyen, Arkansas and included several stops in small towns, as well as acoustic shows at Wal-Mart stores.
Justin Moore never strayed far from his childhood and life in Poyen. Matt Bjorke of Roughstock said that his music has “a heavy dose of southern, country charm and twang.” His home life fits the description of his music. Justin Moore married his wife, Kate of Houma, Louisiana, in 2007. They have three daughters, Ella Kole, born February 11, 2010, Kennedy Faye, born November 21, 2011 and Rebecca Klein born July 14, 2014. He now enjoys a successful music career with his young family.
On August 12, 2016, Justin Moore released his fourth studio album titled Kinda Don’t Care. I got a chance to listen to the album entirely and it is very good. As I started Weekly Music Commentary, I did not choose any country music artists to feature. In more recent years I have gravitated toward several young country musicians. I’m happy I took advantage of the opportunity to feature Justin Moore this week.
Moore told Rolling Stone that “Naming the album Kinda Don’t Care is not meant to be nonchalant or careless. It’s meant to be a challenge to folks to live life a little more freely and be true to themselves.” Certainly, Justin Moore has followed his own challenge in life, and more is yet to come. After Kinda Don’t Care took the number one spot in the Billboard Country chart, he was grateful for the support from radio stations. “Thank you to Country radio for always supporting this Arkansas boy,” said Moore. “Seven years ago this week I had my first #1 with ‘Small Town USA.’ It is crazy to see where we have come since then and I am pumped to see what is ahead.”
What may be in Justin Moore’s future is the same for the other country music young guns. They all should at least enjoy long music careers, but there is the possibility of that breakout, crossover hit. In Justin Moore’s favor is the good foundation built from childhood. His good guy image is more than a picture; it is his true demeanor.
His biography starts with a sentence that tells us volumes about Justin Moore. It reads, “Justin Moore’s always had a thing about doing it his way. Call it stubborn redneck mettle, a well-developed case of “who I am” or just the fierce commitment to blaze a trail inherent to people from his home of Poyen, Arkansas.” The bio ends with another descriptive sentence. “Justin Moore knows who he is, what matters and he’s not going to bend or compromise those things in the name of chasing what everyone else is already doing.”
Through it all Steve Leggett had it so right. Justin Moore is just a “good kid with a rowdy heart of gold who just happened to be able to sing about it.”