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.’”
What are some of your favorite stars doing to welcome in the New Year? A few of them are working to help fans celebrate. Several artists have taken the time off around the holidays and will hit it hard when they return to the road in January. Some artists have resolutions, and some are very helpful with their own hangover cures for those who imbibe too much on New Year’s Eve.
Keith Urban is set to headline Music City on New Year’s Eve for the fourth consecutive year. He’ll perform at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park as part of the Jack Daniels Music City Midnight bash. The legendary Stevie Nicks will join Keith, as well as Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Ashley McBryde, Amanda Shires, The Struts and the Fisk Jubilee Singers, among others. The event will include the traditional Music Note Drop and fireworks display to ring in the New Year. Keith will be featured on “NBC’s New Year’s Eve,” which will be hosted by Carson Daly and Julianne Hough. The special will air Monday, December 31st from 10-11pm ET/PT and return 11:30pm – 12:30am ET/PT. Keith, as well Shania Twain, will also appear during CNN’s coverage of the New Year with hosts Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen.
Sam Hunt will perform during Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve from New York City. The long-running countdown to the new year, hosted by Ryan Seacrest, will also include performers Keith Urban, Post Malone, BTS, Jonas Brothers, Kelsea Ballerini, Blanco Brown, Dan + Shay, Green Day, Sheryl Crow, Usher, Salt-N-Pepa and many others. The show will air 8pm to 2am ET on ABC.
Lauren Alaina will perform on Fox’s New Year’s Eve with Steve Harvey: Live From Times Square. Other performers include LL Cool J, Florida Georgia Line, The Chainsmokers, The Lumineers, Backstreet Boys and The Killers, among others, to help ring in 2020. The show will air in two parts: 8p-10p ET/CT live; MT/PT tape-delayed with the second part beginning at 11pm – 12:30am ET live; CT/MT/PT tape-delayed.
Gary Allan is set to ring in the New Year with a show at Riverwind Casino in Norman, Oklahoma.
Brothers Osborne (New Year) OC: (TJ) …next month. :44
JOHN: “I think it’s kind of funny how we spend literally the last moment and the very first moment of every year being extremely intoxicated, extremely, because you don’t want to wait until like 12:30 to get your buzz on. You’ve got to do it before midnight, and then once midnight happens, you’re like, ‘Omigod! Now it’s time to celebrate even more.’ Debauchery is the literally bookending your entire year.” TJ: “I love how everyone starts the year off with diets and then we end the year with like excessive amounts of food. And then you get to the end of the year, you’re like, ‘Oh, I’m going to start a diet on the 1st, so I’m going to eat everything that’s in front of me.’ I love it.” JOHN: “And come February 1st, ‘what diet?’” [laughs] TJ: “What diet? I’ll start it next month.” [laughs]
Brothers Osborne (hangover cure) OC: …of the year. :07
“Usually drinking more. I mean, a little hair of the dog never hurt anybody. Plus, it’s the first of the year.”
Clare Dunn (hangover cure) OC: …hangover cure. :10
“Greasy food is always kind of a, you can let it go for one day before you start all your resolutions [laughs] after that. So, that’s probably my best hangover cure.”
Dierks (NYE) OC: …for that. :10
“I think January first is universally accepted as a dog. So, I mean, a little hair of the dog, I guess. But just…water and stay on the couch, I guess. There’s no real sure-fire cure for that.”
Dierks Bentley (New Year’s) OC: …in stride. 1:07
“New Year’s is rough. New Year’s hurts no matter what’s going on. I’ve played a lot of New Year’s shows, you know, but I’ve honestly found that it’s not my favorite night to throw down. Look, for a living, that’s what I do. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, I host a big party; not only on stage, but I’ve got friends backstage. It starts before the concert sometimes, [and] it goes long after the concert, so a lot of times on New Year’s, I’m looking for a really mellow hang – a good party, good friends, pretty chill. Some of my best New Year’s – it doesn’t make for great radio – but some of my best New Year’s have been just like actually hearing fireworks go off while I’m in bed, [laughs] and know I’m gonna wake up the next morning for the first day of the New Year feeling great, feeling recharged and I’m ready to go and go into the New Year feeling good as opposed to going into it with a giant Jagerbomb hangover, which I’ve done many, many times. So, the goal this year is to go into it feeling pretty good and the kids help with that, because you really just don’t want to be hungover with children. It’s not a good feeling. You would probably admit to any crime to get them, just feel better, and get them leave you alone.”
Eric Church (hangover cure) OC: …every time. :17
“The best hangover cure – I’ve got two. One is 5-hour Energy [bottles], because of all the B-vitamins that are in it. You can start pounding those, and it’s either gonna work, or it’s gonna keep you up and prolong your misery. But the other one I have is just take two Advil and a beer in the morning. Hair of the dog, man – that works every time.”
Jon Pardi (hangover cure) OC: …deal with it. :20
“My hangover cure is Bloody Marys, but be careful – because once you have a couple, don’t go to beer, because if you go to beer, you’re gonna start drinking again and you’ll end up a morning drunk. OR if you want to go the non-alcoholic route, there’s nothing you can do for hangovers. [laughs] You just go deal with it.”
Kacey Musgraves (hangover cure) OC: …water. Yup! :32
“Coconut water is a major help with hangovers and also, a lot of times we go and eat Vietnamese fuh. It’s a soup, and it’s got this awesome broth. You can get different things in it or whatever, but for some reason, it’s just like…it’s almost like a chicken noodle soup kind of an idea, you know, but it’s good. That’s good for hangovers too. That, sleep, Tylenol, coconut water and just water, in general. And when you’re drinking, have your alcohol, drink a little bit of water, drink some more alcohol, drink some water. Yup!”
Keith Urban (playing Nashville 2019) OC: …getting to do it. :
“I love it. I love playing in Nashville. I’ve lived here now 27 years. I’ve lived here longer than I lived in Australia, which is crazy, you now? Playing New Year’s Eve is awesome because you never know what to expect from year to year. This’ll be our fourth year doing it. We have Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires this year and a bunch of other people. There’s a whole bunch of people at this show. It’s free and the town gets behind it in a big way. It just feels like a, I don’t know, it just feels like a big Nash love fest really for me. I love it. I love getting to do it.”
Kip Moore (avoiding hangovers on NYE) OC: …yourself. :03
“Pace yourself on New Year’s – that’s the remedy. Pace yourself.”
Luke Bryan (New Years-best) OC: …great night. :17
“My best New Year’s Eve is definitely when my wife and I started back dating. We started back dating right before Christmas, and we went on a trip down to Florida and met some friends. And her birthday is New Year’s Eve. We celebrated it that night. It was just a great night.”
Travis Denning (favorite New Year’s Eve party) OC: …it was good. :41
“I think my favorite New Year’s Eve party ever was when my sister got married, and my sister’s party got done at 10:30, 10:45 and she got married right behind a little club that I played a lot in Macon, Georgia called the Crazy Bull and love the owner. We’re boys, you know? So, we just literally walked right over and burned the house down. That was one of my favorite New Year’s Eve memories, ‘cause I got to see my sister and brother-in-law get married and that was such a great, great time, and then me and my older cousin and best friend, we ended up at Waffle House that night, so it was good.”
Travis Denning (hangover cure) OC: …me better. :17
“You know, I think my hangover cure is just sitting on my butt, [laughs] not doing anything. Drink some water, a cup of coffee, but usually anything greasy or just some big ole Mexican food that’ll get me at least to a nap, which will get me better.”
Travis Denning (wants to get dressed up for New Year’s Eve) OC: …good for it. :13
“No matter what I do for New Year’s Eve, I want to get dressed up. I want to wear a suit. I want to get real snazzied up, and I don’t care if I’m just going to a bar. Like, it’s New Year’s Eve, let’s look good for it.”
“Hey Everybody! I’m Adam Hambrick, wishing you a Happy New Year.”
“What’s up everybody? This is Brandon Lay, wishing you a Happy New Year.”
“Hey! This is TJ, and I’m John, and we are Brothers Osborne. Happy New Year.”
“Hi! I’m Carrie Underwood, wishing you a Happy New Year.”
“Hey y’all! This is Caylee Hammack, wishing you a very Happy New Year.”
“Hey! I’m Clare Dunn, wishing you a Happy New Year.”
“Hey y’all! What’s up? This is Darius Rucker, wishing you a Happy New Year!
“Hey, it’s Dierks Bentley. Happy New Year!”
“Hey! It’s Eric Church, hoping you have a Happy New Year.”
“Hey everybody! I’m Gary Allan. Happy New Year!”
“Hey y’all! I’m Jon Langston, wishing you a very Happy New Year.”
“Hi! I’m Jon Pardi, wishing you a Happy New Year!”
“Hey! I’m Jordan Davis, wishing you a Happy New Year!”
“Hey! I’m Josh Turner. Happy New Year!”
“Hey! It’s Kacey Musgraves, hoping you have a safe and Happy New Year!”
“Hey everyone! This is Keith Urban. Have a safe and happy New Year.”
“It’s Kip Moore, wishing you a Happy New Year.”
“This is Lauren Alaina, wishing you a Happy New Year.”
“Hey! We’re Little Big Town. Happy New Year!”
“Hey! This is Luke Bryan, hoping you have a Happy New Year.”
“Hi! We’re Maddie & Tae, wishing you a Happy New Year.”
“Hey! This is Mickey Guyton, wishing you a Happy New Year.”
“Hey everybody! I’m Parker McCollum, wishing you a Happy New Year.”
“Hey everybody! I’m Sam Hunt. Happy New Year!”
“Hi! This is Shania Twain. Happy New Year!”
“Hey y’all, this is Travis Denning, wishing you a Happy New Year.”
Carrie Underwood’s recent No. 1 hit, “Southbound,” Kip Moore’s “Last Shot,” Maddie & Tae’s “Die From a Broken Heart” and Eric Church’s “Carolina” have been certified gold by the R.I.A.A. (Recording Industry Association of America).
Jon Pardi’s “Dirt on My Boots” has been certified three-times platinum by the R.I.A.A. (Recording Industry Association of America).
Capitol Nashville’s Caylee Hammack and EMI Nashville’s Kylie Morgan have been picked as two of Pandora’s 2020 Country Artists to Watch.
Dierks Bentley and Brandi Carlile are set to headline the Shaky Boots Music Festival May 8th-9th in Central Park in Atlanta, Georgia. Gary Allan, Tanya Tucker, Dwight Yoakam, Morgan Wallen, Clint Black and more will also perform during the two-day festival.