From the shadow of the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas, Justin Moore reflects upon growing another year older.
“I wake up at 35 feeling sore in places where I didn’t when I was 25,” Moore joked. Within that decade, he emerged as a bright, young star in the country music world. He’s garnered six No. 1 hits, off the strength either ballads or stories of a small town man with a chip on his shoulder. His latest No. 1 hit, “Somebody Else Will” off his 2016 release “Kinda Don’t Care,” was a bit of a gamble.
“I stepped out of my comfort zone and did things a little differently on the last album,” explains Moore. “We recorded some songs that became big hits for me that I probably wouldn’t have cut earlier in my career. It was a lot of fun to try something new like that in the studio, but afterwards, I really just wanted to just get back into writing songs and make the most traditional sounding record I could.”
Moore said he wanted to go back to the beach. Back where he met his wife, the mother of his four kids. Back where he’s established roots since moving from Razorback Country in Arkansas.
“Before I ever had a record deal, my producer and I used to pop down to the beach in Florida and write for three or four days at a time,” he said. The two would hole up in a motel — “Motel, not hotel,” he said — to change the scenery and concentrate on writing. “I wanted to reconnect with that spirit on this new album, so I said, ‘Let’s go work down there again like we used to 10, 12 years ago,” he said.
Moore has grown from an aspiring songwriter forced to learn his craft because no one wanted to provide him material once he arrived in Nashville. His new album, ‘Late Nights and Longnecks,’ is his sixth studio album. It’s equal parts celebration and reflection, showcasing his storytelling, complemented by an all-star band featuring Grammy and CMA Award-winning guitar icon Brent Mason and ACM-winning pedal steel hero Paul Franklin.
Moore hinted that this new album will reveal a slightly more matured country singer. A little less of the beer-drinking hellraiser — “[though] there’s still some of that,” he said — and a little more of the matured father he has since become.
The album was supposed to be released this month, but last week Moore took to social media to announce a July release date. He later took the time to announce this year’s Flora-Bama Sunset Beach Concert Series for September. That intimate concert series in Pensacola, Florida will also host fellow country star Easton Corbin. Once he takes to the beach by then, fans will have had the album in hand for almost two months. It’s something, he said, that is worth the wait.
“Not only is this my best album,” he said, “it was the most fun I’ve ever had making a record. That’s the whole reason I got into this business in the first place.”
Moore takes to the Albany Palace Theatre stage this Saturday, April 13, at 8 p.m.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.