The Journal Gazette
Thursday, August 08, 2019 1:00 am

Justin Moore coming to Country Fest

COREY MCMAKEN | The Journal Gazette

Justin Moore feels blessed.

The country singer released his fifth album, “Late Nights and Longnecks,” on July 26.

“To get the opportunity to put a fifth album out is such a blessing,” he says in a phone call from his home in Poyen, Arkansas, a few days before the album was released.

“The Ones That Didn't Make It Back Home,” a single from the album, ended last week at No. 5 on Billboard's country airplay chart and No. 13 on its hot country songs chart.

Moore jokes he's “come a little ways” since his first gig at a New Year's Eve variety show when he was a teenager. He got to play a couple sets of two songs each.

“I was nervous as hell, but I walked out on stage and the adrenaline was pumping through me. I was like, 'Man, that's the coolest thing I've ever done in my life,'” he says, adding that that's what made him fall in love with music.

“And that feeling has not ever gone away, you know?” the 35-year-old continues. “When the lights go down and I walk out on stage, I get the same feeling now that I got then when I was 17 years old. It's awesome.”

Moore will headline K105's Country Fest on Aug. 15 at Parkview Field. Also performing will be The Cadillac Three, Ashley McBryde and Dylan Schneider.

Moore laughs as he says he and his band always hope their audiences feel like they've gotten their money's worth. He likes the audience to think back on the show fondly, knowing they got to hear all their favorite songs.

“We try to give them every ounce of energy we've got, each and every time we go out there, which we'll do once again when we're in Fort Wayne,” Moore says. “I hope they go away from it with a smile, goin' 'Man, that was fun.'”

Moore talked to The Journal Gazette about his new album, touring and more. The conversation has been edited.

JG: Your first album came out almost exactly 10 years ago. A decade later, things have got to be different for you.

Moore: You know, obviously career-wise, they're different. But from a personal standpoint, I'm married and I have four kids and so things have changed, certainly, for the better.

It's a whole new world, so to speak, for us and it's been a fun ride for sure.

JG: You've said “Late Nights and Longnecks” is your most traditional sounding album. Why is that?

Moore: I think all of our music for the most part has been traditional, but the band made a concerted effort on this album to make it really, really traditional.

On our last album, “Kinda Don't Care,” we did some things out of our proverbial comfort zone. It just sounded different for us, maybe a little more progressive than we've done in the past.

As we were discussing going back in and making a new album, I said, “You know what? What I do best and what I want to do and what I love doin' is super-traditional country music. It's just what I enjoy the most.” So I made a concerted effort to make this album really, really traditional and I think it was probably the most fun I've ever had making an album because of that.

JG: On 2016's “Kinda Don't Care,” you didn't write many of the songs. But with this one, you've got your name on all of them.

Moore: Yeah, man. My entire career, I've written quite a bit of every album. But because we did some different things on the last album, I didn't write that much.

As we went into making this album, it was something I wanted to get back into. It was a process I really missed.

I feel like there are people that write those more progressive songs like on “Kinda Don't Care” a little better than I do. But I feel like I can kinda hold my own with writing traditional stuff.

It was a lot of fun to get back into that whole scene as a songwriter on this album.

JG: Let's turn back the clock for a minute. Do you have an idea what your first memory of music was?

Moore: Unlike some guys that play in my band, I didn't grow up knowing I wanted to play music for a living or loving music because I played it. I loved listening to music.

My earliest memory of music was singing in church. But my mom and dad made me sing in church, it wasn't me going, 'Oh, man, I want to sing!' It was because they made me.

And when you grow up in a town of 300 people, there aren't a whole lot of people who can sing on key. So every time they wanted someone to sing, it was me because I knew I could sing.

I was obsessed with sports my whole life. Music was just something that was a side note.

JG: When you head out on the road, is there anything you make sure you have with you that makes life out there easier?

Moore: Uh, yeah. Whiskey. (Laughs)

As often as I can, I have my family out with me. My wife and I have been married for 12 years, and we have four little ones. Our daughters are 9, 7 and 5 and our boy's 2. As often as I can, I have them out, depending on school and that kind of stuff.

Also, my golf clubs. I like to play golf, and do that as often as I can.

JG: Obviously you've set some goals for yourself in life and you've achieved at least some of them. What sort of advice do you have for your kids on achieving their goals?

Moore: As cheesy as it sounds, if there's something out there you want to go do, go do it. You can do whatever you set your mind to.

It sounds like a clichéd thing to say, but I've kind of proven that with my journey. I'm talking to you right now staring out at the land that I grew up on, into a cow pasture. And I'm thinking “I grew up right here, and there's still 300 people in this town – it didn't grow and become a budding metropolis – and I've sold 4 million albums. That's just crazy.”

I'm not saying that to boast, I'm just proving a point. I think every parent tells their child, “You can do anything you set your mind to.” But in my case, at least from my perspective, it's pretty clear that I can not only say that, but I can show them that.

It's pretty cool they get to see me do that each and every day.

If you go

What: K105 Country Fest

When: 7 p.m. Aug. 15

Where: Parkview Field, 1301 Ewing St.

Admission: Tickets start at $34; for more information and a link to buy tickets, go to

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