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.’”
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Chris Stapleton joins the lineup of performers for this year’s ACM Honors, hosted by Jon Pardi and Lauren Alaina, taking place at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium August 22nd. Kip Moore has been added as a presenter, along with Ricky Skaggs and radio personality Bobby Bones.
Chris joins previously announced performers including Lauren, Kassi Ashton, Cam, Deana Carter, Morgan Evans, Dustin Lynch, Ashley McBryde, Old Crow Medicine Show, Pardi and songwriters Dallas Davidson & Ben Hayslip. Jordan Davis, Lindsay Ell, Lori McKenna and Storme Warren are presenters.
As previously announced, Special Award recipients to be celebrated at the 12th Annual ACM Honors include Dierks Bentley (ACM Merle Haggard Spirit Award), Matraca Berg (ACM Poet’s Award), Sam Hunt (ACM Gene Weed Milestone Award), Alan Jackson (ACM Cliffie Stone Icon Award), Darius Rucker (ACM Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award),Mickey & Chris Christensen and Eddie Miller (ACM Mae Boren Axton Service Award, all awarded posthumously), Rob Potts (ACM Jim Reeves International Award, awarded posthumously), and Norro Wilson (ACM Poet’s Award, awarded posthumously). The evening will also honor winners of the Industry and Studio Recording Awards, along with Songwriter of the Year Award winner, Rhett Akins.
Kip Moore revealed he will hit the road this fall for a string of headlining dates across the country as part of his AFTER THE SUNBURN TOUR. The impressive trek will kick off in Silver Springs, MD on 9/20 and will make stops in major cities including Los Angeles, Nashville, New York City and more, as Moore’s fervent live fanbase continues to grow as “its the way he expresses what’s on his mind that draws sold-out audiences around the world” (CMT.) Moore has invited a combination of special guests including Jordan Davis, Jillian Jacqueline, The Wild Feathers and Caroline Jones to join him across the dates, assembling one of the most stacked lineups this fall. Live Nation is the official tour promoter of AFTER THE SUNBURN Tour. Tickets for the tour will go on sale beginning Friday July, 20 at kipmoore.net.
“Anyone who knows me, knows that the live show means everything to us,” said Moore. “It’s where we get to thank our die-hard fans that show up to every show year after year, and it’s also where we get to lay all of our cards out on the table and win over new fans. I’m excited to get out to some cities we haven’t played a full show at in a while and with all the awesome acts we have joining us, it’s going to be a hell of a fall!”
AFTER THE SUNBURN TOUR DATES:
9/20/2018 Silver Springs, MD The Fillmore Silver Spring**
9/21/2018 New York, NY Hammerstein Ballroom**
9/22/2018 Huntington, NY The Paramount****
9/28/2018 Birmingham, AL Avondale Brewing Co.***
10/4/2018 Fargo, ND Scheels Arena*
10/5/2018 Sioux Falls, SD The District*
10/6/2018 Madison, WI The Sylvee*
10/18/2018 Raleigh, NC The Ritz*
10/20/2018 Chattanooga, TN The Signal*
10/25/2018 Denver, CO The Fillmore Auditorium*
10/26/2018 Salt Lake City, UT The Complex*
10/27/2018 Reno, NV Grand Theatre @ The Grand Sierra Resort*
10/30/2018 Paso Robles, CA Vina Robles Amphitheater*
11/1/2018 Anaheim, CA House of Blues*
11/2/2018 Los Angeles, CA The Wiltern*
11/3/2018 San Diego, CA House of Blues*
11/5/2018 San Francisco, CA The Regency*
11/8/2018 Spokane, WA Fox Theater*
11/9/2018 Eugene, OR Hult Center for Performing Arts*
11/10/2018 Seattle, WA Paramount Theatre*
11/17/2018 Nashville, TN War Memorial Auditorium*
*Dates with Jordan Davis, Jillian Jacqueline // **Dates with The Wild Feathers, Caroline Jones
***Dates with The Wild Feathers, Jillian Jacqueline // ****Dates with The Wild Feathers
Kip Moore’s current single “Last Shot” is the second taken from his revered third studio album SLOWHEART and follows his fourth No. One hit “More Girls Like You.”