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, Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott and Brandon Lay were among the country stars taking part in the 2018 ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp this past week. The artists work with the campers who have Williams Syndrome, a developmental disability, to create music and enjoy a wide variety of musical activities.
Kip, along with songwriters Ross Copperman and Jon Nite, led the songwriting workshop in which they penned a song called “One Voice” with the campers.
On Monday, the campers recorded the song at Oceanway Studio with producer and co-writer Ross Copperman, along with Hillary Scott. “It was such an unbelievable thing to witness,” she says. “My heart is full.”
Hillary adds, “I’m a huge proponent for music in everybody’s life in some way and just the power of it and just how healing it can be and what an outlet it can be, so when I got asked to be a part of this – and I actually think I may have invited myself to the party, I was just so excited just to see the impact that music makes. But it’s not just the music, it’s their hearts and what they’re bringing to it. And to see that they wrote this song with Ross and Kip Moore and Jon Nite and just getting in that creative space with them had to be just life-changing. It’s the power of music.”
Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley and Kelsea Ballerini are among the artists who have previously participated in the ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp.
Father’s Day is Sunday (June 17th), and we have many of your favorite country stars talking about their own Father’s Day memories and wishes below!
Clare Dunn (Father’s Day gift) OC: …one year. :35
“[My Dad] loves the weather, so we gave him a weather machine one year, and that was…well, he’s a farmer so he has to watch the weather all the time. And we gave him this weather gadget-gizmo that sits on top of the horse barn and gives him his own read-out of the weather. ‘What’s the temp? What’s the pressure? What’s the humidity?’ Well, there is no humidity in Colorado, or Southeast, but I think that was probably the biggest gift. My mom, I think, she gets all the credit for that, but I think we all collectively did that for Father’s Day one year.”
Darius Rucker (Father’s Day) OC: …loving dad. :41
“I think if you asked my kids what kind of Dad I was they would probably say…Dani would say that I was a fun Dad. My little daughter would say that I was a fun dad; she thinks I’m a lot of fun. I think if you caught them at the right moment they would say I was mean [laughs] because when I’m home I’m not afraid to discipline them. I’m all fun until it’s not fun anymore and then daddy’s not the fun guy. I think that they’d say that I was a fun Dad, I’m a loving Dad and I think they would say that. I’m gone so much that when I’m home, I just shower love upon my kids. I say ‘I love you’ probably fifty times a day. We hug, we kiss all the time. I’m always wanting them to know how much I love them. So I’d hope they’d say that I was a loving dad.”
Darius Rucker (mother’s qualities makes him a great father) OC: …my mom. :45
“She had a lot great qualities, but she was always, family was first for her. She was always a rock and making sure she took care of us and making sure we had things we needed to have to survive – food and clothes and a home – and seeing that and seeing how hard she worked and all the things she did just really made me the father that I am today. I mean, I’m so crazy and hands-on with my kids. I think it all comes from watching my mom have to struggle so much to support us. And so now, I don’t want me or my wife to ever have to struggle, and I don’t want my kids to ever want or wonder where I am or where their mom is. I want them to always know where we are and always be taken care of, and that all comes from my mom.”
Dierks Bentley (dad & performer) OC: …to do both. :28
“When I get home, it’s a totally different reality that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. Just hanging with my girls and doing the things we do and seeing life through their eyes, it’s incredible. It takes a man to do it. It’s not a boys’ game. It takes a man to do it. I love the juxtaposition to be able to be that man and to also go on the road and act like I’m 13 years old and play video games all afternoon waiting for the fans to show up. So, it’s really a blessing to be able to do both.”
Dierks (Father’s Day) OC: …that’s for sure. :10
“My dad was my biggest influence in country music because my dad loved country radio. So, we always drove around listening to country radio and George Strait, Hank Williams and Randy Travis and all these guys, so. Without him, I wouldn’t be doing this, that’s for sure.”
Eric Church (Father’s Day) OC: …always admired. :29
“My dad is a, I’m trying to find the right words to describe him. My dad is a great guy, honest guy, very call it like he sees it, which is where I get a lot of that. No BS. I’m gonna tell you how I feel whether you like it or not. I’m that guy, I’m me…My dad’s that way, so I get a lot of that from him. There’s also an honesty and an integrity that my dad carries himself with that I’ve always admired.”
Eric Paslay (Father’s Day) OC: …ceiling fan. :23
“He just taught me that working hard and sticking it out, even when you know things aren’t right, that if you stick it out, it’s worth it in the end. And he just taught me to work hard, and there’s a lot of things that you don’t have to pay someone else to do, and it feels more rewarding when you’re able to put in new light fixtures or paint your own walls or put in a new ceiling fan.”
Jordan Davis (Father’s Day) OC: …my music. :45
“The thing I love most about my Dad is just his overall love of life. He’s a guy that’s worked hard and is now at a point where he can enjoy it, and he’s living every day to the fullest. That’s something that I’m very thankful that I’ve seen my Dad do and something to learn from. So, that’s probably my favorite quality about the old man, and just the hard work too. My dad ran a furniture business in Shreveport for a long time with his Dad. It was great to grow up and see a guy work hard and helped his Dad build a business from the ground up to a very successful business, and that’s something that I even try to carry over into my music.”
Keith Urban (Father’s Day) OC: …experience that. :36
“The first thing is probably just having someone call you dad. I’m like, ‘Omigosh! I’m her dad! That’s amazing.’ That’s probably the first thing to me. I don’t know, I mean, the different personalities that our two daughters have, that’s amazing. It’s such a long list I think. I always say…I think for the people that haven’t had kids – which I hadn’t for a long, long time. I didn’t have kids ‘til later on, and being around it is not the same as having them, you know? I realize that it’s not something that can be explained until you actually sort of have it, so I’m glad I got to experience that.”
Kip Moore (Father’s Day-dad’s influence) OC: …of us singin’ ‘em. :29
“He would just play all those classic records – Little River Band, Jackson Brown, Springsteen, Seeger, Willie Nelson, the Red-Headed Stranger, Kristofferson, Sam Cook – like classic music. He’d be singing the songs and telling us why it was such good music. And I looked up to him so much, that’s the music I gravitated towards and that’s what I continue to listen to. Whenever I think about those old fishing trips, that’s what I think about is on the way down there, him singing those songs and all of us singin’ ‘em.”
Charles Kelley (being a father) OC: …wife Cassie. :38
“Gosh! I mean, being a father, it really puts a lot of things into perspective about making sure you do shut off that side of your brain, that work side of your brain and focus on what matters most. I think n the past, I think I’ve always had it in the back of the mind – work, and once you have a kid, you see something that you love more than yourself. I don’t know. It just really is making me realize how fast time moves and to really and try to enjoy these little moments with my little son and my wife, Cassie.”
Lady A (Father’s Day-Dave) OC: …like that. :39
“My dad was a really hard worker growing up and was always great, however hard he worked, he’d always make important time for family, important time to be home for dinner and be there for a lot of special moments for us growing up. For all the money he would make, he would always give a portion of it back to charity or to the church, and so that was always important for me to watch. We had a great relationship growing up. My dad plays guitar; he’s very musical. I learned how to play acoustic guitar with him playing ‘Day Tripper’ by the Beatles and all these old songs we’d play together when he’d show me how to play these James Taylor songs and things like that. So, definitely want to pass along music, of course, to my children, as well, like that.”
Lady A (Father’s Day-Hillary) OC: …my children. :33
“I definitely got my Type-A personality from my dad. He’s the same way, but one thing I’m so appreciative of – especially from a father-daughter relationship – my dad always, always talked to me, even when I didn’t want to talk to him. He would force me to communicate and talk through things, and not always the easy stuff, which is such a rare quality in a man, truthfully. And so, I am very, very thankful for that. I think it helped me find the right husband for me, and I also know that it will help me be that much of a better communicator to my children.”
Lauren Alaina (Father’s Day) OC: …always has been. :50
“Oh my gosh. My dad’s the best. I’m really proud of my daddy. “October 6th will be his five-year anniversary of being sober. So that’s a big one for us. And it’s been really amazing the last few years with his recovery. Our relationship was a little rocky before he went into rehab and now we talk every single day. And he is my daddy and I’m so proud of him. He’s the hardest worker I know, and that’s why I work so hard because I grew up watching him do it. I’m proud of him and he moved to Alabama for work and he loves it, and he’s like 30 minutes from the beach. So, I’m trying to hit that beach up every minute I can. But I’m really proud of him, and he’s a great dad and he always has been.”
Luke Bryan (Father’s Day 2018) OC: …air conditioning.
“Last year, my Father’s Day was Caroline was perfect in asking me what I wanted for Father’s Day, and I said I want to go camping with the boys on a little trout stream thing. So, I went and borrowed, I knew a buddy who had like a pull-behind trailer, you know, camper; get the camper hooked up, get to the campsite, it’s 98 degrees. I had loaded a lawn mower in the back of my truck. By the time I got done mowing an acre of four-foot tall grass for the campsite, mosquitos, couldn’t get the camper – you know, the camper never works like you want it to. It may just be a day around the pool at the Bryan house. I hadn’t really put my mind together for what I want for Father’s Day, but I won’t be mowing an acre of grass for the RV moment. But I will tell you I made a last-minute call and got my tour bus driver. I said, ‘Please just bring the tour bus so we can sleep in some air conditioning.’”
Maddie & Tae (Father’s Day) OC: …for Father’s Day. :26
“So, for Father’s Day, I made my Dad – I think it was right before I moved to Nashville – I made my Dad this little photo book where it had like his quotes that have stuck with me my whole life and then some pictures, and it was really funky. It looks horrible. It’s not put together, but that’s one of his favorite gifts that he’s ever gotten, and I cherish that ugly photo book thing that I made for him for Father’s Day.”
Sam Hunt (Father’s Day) OC: …he’s great. :27
“I’m obviously biased about my parents, but I’ve been around a lot of great men of integrity, but he is by far the best man that I know. He’s just taught me so much about being a man, doing the right thing, knowing the difference between right and wrong. And even though I don’t always follow his lead, I definitely know better because of him, and that means a whole lot to me. I was just really fortunate to have him as a dad, and he’s great.”
Travis Denning (Father’s Day) OC: …for sure. :43
“My dad – I call him ‘Diamond Dave’ and a lot of other people do too. Honestly, I don’t know if I drink more with anybody else more than my Dad. I think a super cool thing now is getting older and knowing that I’m starting to get more and more sustained as a human that it’s like my parents get to be friends now with me and my sister, which is such a cool thing. And so, yeah, me and my Dad – we love music and we love heavy metal and we love all that. We get to go to concerts and football games and drink beer and just enjoy that cool part of a father and a son and a mother and a son where now we get to be friends and it’s really cool. My Dad is my best friend, for sure.”
Kip Moore’s “Last Shot,” which is making its way up the country charts, turned into a good “old school country love song” in the writing room. He co-wrote “Last Shot” — the follow-up to his No. 1 hit “More Girls Like You” — with the legendary David Lee Murphy and pal Dan Couch, and they hit gold once they figured out how to write the tune based on an idea Dan brought to them.
“Dan actually came in with that idea and we just kind of danced around that song for probably three hours before we ever could tackle how to get it, where we wanted to go and you get a little bit of that old school Aerosmith vibe from the lyrics to the melodic sense even to the production of it,” says Kip. “I mean the minute David Lee said…When I started singing that melody, I was just humming and different stuff, and he said, ‘If you were my last breath/I’d just want to hold you,’ and I thought that was just such a brilliant line. So then it was just about, ‘Alright, this is a love song, this is an old school country love song right here,’ so that’s what we went with.”
The Georgia native just wrapped a string of sold-out international shows and makes a summer run through fairs and festivals, among other tour dates. For information on Kip, check out kipmoore.net.
Kip Moore (Last Shot) OC: . . . we went with. :47
“’Last Shot’ was written with David Lee Murphy and Dan Couch. David Lee, the king of quirky phrasing . . . Dan actually came in with that idea and we just kind of danced around that song for probably three hours before we ever could tackle how to get it, where we wanted to go and you get a little bit of that old school Aerosmith vibe from the lyrics to the melodic sense even to the production of it. And, yeah, I mean the minute David Lee said…When I started singing that melody, I was just humming and different stuff, and he said, ‘If you were my last breath/I’d just want to hold you,’ and I thought that was just such a brilliant line. So then it was just about, ‘Alright, this is a love song, this is an old school country love song right here,’ so that’s what we went with.”