For the past couple of years, Kip Moore has spent most of his time on the road, building one of country music’s most loyal audiences show by show and plotting what would become his sophomore album, Wild Ones. He was a road warrior, living out of a tour bus with his bandmates and playing more than 200 shows per year. For a songwriter who’d grown up in a quiet pocket of southern Georgia, performing to crowds across the world — crowds that knew every word to his best-selling debut album, Up All Night — felt like a dream come true.
Somewhere along the way, though, the highway became a lonely place. The routine was always the same: pull into town, play a show, pack up and leave. There was no stability, no comfort. Things weren’t much easier at home in Nashville, where Moore —whose first album had sent three songs to the top of the country charts, including “Beer Money” and “Hey Pretty Girl” —found himself receiving plenty of unsolicited advice from people who wanted to keep the hits coming…at any cost.
“Once you start having a little bit of success,” he says, “all of a sudden, there’s a lot of opinions about who you should be, what you should be doing, how it should be marketed. A lot of those opinions are great, but Wild Ones was influenced by me saying, ‘This is just who I am. I’m not gonna do what other people are doing. I’m not chasing a trend. I’m gonna do the kind of music I wanna do, and the kind of music I think my fans wanna hear, and that’s the end of the story.'”
From amphitheater tours with Dierks Bentley to his own headlining tours across America, Moore has spent the last three years learning what, exactly, his fans want to hear. He’s a genuine road warrior, armed with a live show that mixes the bombast and wild desperation of Bruce Springsteen with the rootsy stomp of Merle Haggard. It’s a sound built on space and swagger. A sound that bangs as hard as it twangs. A sound caught somewhere between blue-collar country music and stadium-sized rock & roll. And that’s the sound that Moore’s fans, who’ve already catapulted him to PLATINUM-selling heights, want to hear.
When it came time to create new music for his second album, Wild Ones, Moore didn’t have to look very far for inspiration. He just took a look around, taking stock of the world as it flew by his bus window at highway speed.
“Everything that’s taken place over the last two years —this traveling circus, these shows, the band, the toll that the road can take on you but also the exuberance it can bring —it all inspired the record,” he explains. “It’s a record about what we’ve gone through, and I wanted the music to match the intensity of what we do every night onstage. We never go through the motions, no matter how tired and exhausted we are.”
Moore wrote or co-wrote all of Wild Ones‘ thirteen tracks, often teaming up with songwriters like Dan Couch or Weston Davis. More than a few songs were born on the road, where Moore found himself coming up with new ones during soundchecks, inside backstage dressing rooms, and in his bunk at night. He’d arrange the songs, too, coming up with bass parts, guitar licks and drum patterns in addition to the melodies. Sometimes, he’d write some lyrics, scrap them, then write a completely different set. The emphasis wasn’t on creating the largest catalog of songs in the shortest time possible; it was on funneling the feeling of a Kip Moore concert into a single album, no matter how much time it took.
Driven forward by electric guitars and gang vocals, “Lipstick” is the album’s most heartfelt tribute to the road, with each verse rattling off a list of the favorite cities Moore and his bandmates have played in the past. Other songs, like “That Was Us,” take a look backward, sketching a picture of the archetypal small-town Saturday nights that filled Moore’s teenage years in Georgia. “Magic,” anchored by one of the anthemic, open-armed choruses of Moore’s career, is loud and lovely, and “Comeback Kid” packs its punch the opposite way: by dialing back the volume and delivering quiet praise to the underdog in all of us.
Befitting an album that was largely inspired by —and written on — the road, Moore recorded Wild Ones during quick breaks in his touring schedule. He’d book one or two days of studio time, then hit the road for three months, then return to Nashville and book more sessions. Gradually, the album started to take shape. Brett James, his longtime friend and ally, co-produced the project.
“We created a lot of space in this record,” Moore says proudly. “It’s not a bunch of people playing all over the place. We tracked a lot of the record with just a three-piece band. If you go to most Nashville recording sessions, there’s gonna be six or seven people in the room. But we recorded this one with less people, just to allow the fans to actually listen to what’s going on. It makes everything sound bigger.”
“Big.” Perhaps that’s the best description for Wild Ones, a super-sized record inspired by the grit, grind, and glamour of the live shows that have helped make Moore a country favorite. For Moore, going big was the only option.
“I’ve always felt like the guy whose cards are stacked against him,” he says. “I’ve always been the underdog, but I also say, ‘You can count me out for a minute, but don’t think I’ll stay down for very long.’”
Kip Moore has created a documentary with one of his best friends (video director PJ Brown) to detail the months he took off to travel the world, as well as the process of making his new album. The Journey to Slowheart begins with footage in his hometown at his mother’s house in Georgia. He drives around the town reminiscing on the good times with his parents and siblings. It is apparent that there are several key people in his life that have really had an influence on him and his views. He talks about his sister and “biggest hero” who was paralyzed from the waist down after a bad car accident when she was in high school. She describes Kip as being the most “caring brother who would do anything to help her.” He talks about his father, who passed away about 5 years ago and the heartbreak that goes along with that. He also talks about a man he met in Cancun, who has cancer, but he does not let that stop him.
It wasn’t his idea to have cameras follow him 24/7, but he soon realized what a special journey he was on and embraced the idea. “PJ knew where I was at mentally. He knew the exhaustion that I had been dealing with, so when I decided to check out, he was like, ‘I want to come with you and I want to document where you are in the beginning of this journey, where you’re at the end of it and what comes about after it.’ So, he followed all of our travels and watching me just kind of evolve through those four months and come out of it and come back in the studio and finish the second half of this record,” says Kip. “So, we just felt like it was a crucial time. We knew that when I got done with those travels I was going to be trying to go back in and finish this record that I’d started on. So, I mean, I think he just wanted to capture what happened between the beginning of it and the end of it, and it wasn’t my idea; it was his, but once we got going, I could see that something pretty special was happening, so I’m glad we were able to capture it.”
He decided to take a break from touring to see the world and for self-exploration. He traveled to Hawaii, Cancun, and Iceland. He traveled to Iceland with one of his best friends that he met in Nashville when he first moved there. Traveling gave Kip a new perspective on life and allowed him to recharge.
Kip is scaling the country charts with “More Girls Like You,” which is from his new album, Slowheart, available September 8th.
Kip Moore (journey documented) OC: …capture it. :59
“PJ knew how long I had been in the process of making this record. PJ knew where I was at mentally. He knew the exhaustion that I had been dealing with, so when I decided to check out, he was like, ‘I want to come with you and I want to document where you are in the beginning of this journey, where you’re at the end of it and what comes about after it.’ So, he followed all of our travels and watching me just kind of evolve through those four months and come out of it and come back in the studio and finish the second half of this record. So, we just felt like it was a crucial time. We knew that when I got done with those travels I was going to be trying to go back in and finish this record that I’d started on. So, I mean, I think he just wanted to capture what happened between the beginning of it and the end of it, and it wasn’t my idea. It was his, but once we got going, I could see that something pretty special was happening, so I’m glad we were able to capture it.”
See you soon Nashville! Come join us for live music and skating, all for a good cause. https://t.co/LafhsmUM65
— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) August 15, 2017
Kip Moore (Tony Hawk) OC: …the same. :33
“It’s not so much is what amazing athlete Tony Hawk’s been, but the person he’s been when you’ve watched all of his philanthropy work and who he’s been as a human being, as a dad and a husband. I look up to who the human Tony Hawk is. So, yeah, we share the same passions as far as wanting to do something powerful you know in the inner-city. So, I just felt like he was the guy to team up with, and I’m humbled that he wants to do the same.”
Kip Moore (Plead the Fifth Tour) OC: …a whole lot. :19
“We’re gonna do a fall tour. I’m taking out Drake White. That’ll start in late September, and I’m super stoked about that. Me and Drake have been talking about touring together for a long time. Drake’s been a good friend. He’s a kindred spirit, and I think that this is gonna be one of my most fond memories of touring that I’m gonna have. So, I’m looking forward to it a whole lot.”