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Hook & Barrel
A Lifestyle Magazine for Modern Outdoorsmen

Justin Moore

Musician Justin Moore keeps his priorities straight, whether he’s on tour, coaching his kids’ sports teams, or at the radio station.

The only real downtime that Justin Moore seems to get these days is on his bus. He and his band members roll steadily along the highways to the tune of around 90,000 miles a year, many of them rushing back to his home in Arkansas.

There are a few good reasons for all this road work. First of all, he hates to fly, even after all these years of playing shows all over the country. He much prefers the more relaxed pace and comforts of the customized bus, with its stocked pantry and kitchen and other amenities like TV and internet, not to mention the considerable camaraderie on board.

Meet Justin Moore, Country Music Star

Home Is Where Moore’s Heart Is

When the bus does ease to a stop in the tiny town of Poyen, about 50 miles south of Little Rock, he quickly hits the ground running again. “My wife and I have three daughters who are 13, 11, and eight, and I coach all of them in softball,” Moore explains. “My oldest daughter’s on three different teams right now. And we have a five-year-old son, and he plays 6u baseball (for ages four to six), and I coach that team. And then basketball season rolls around. My son hasn’t started basketball yet, but I coach all my daughters in basketball as well.”

If you’re guessing that Moore isn’t completely consumed with his country music career, you’re correct. In fact, he says, music slides into third for him personally behind God and family. When he’s not in the recording studio or playing concerts, coaching sports is just one part of his busy personal life. You may wonder how he ever finds time to strum a guitar or scribble down a rhyme. He also does three shifts a week as a morning personality on the sports-talk station KABZ-FM. (“It’s all about the Razorbacks,” he says.)

Athletics, not music, was his first love. And coaching, which is something his dad did before him, lets him score another life goal, to be a leader in the same community where he grew up. “I think you learn a lot from sports,” he says. “You learn how to succeed, you learn how to fail, how to lead, how to be led. I just think it offers a lot of life lessons. And I love kids.”

Off to Nashville, Then Back Home

In a way, it was radio that led Moore to leave town in the first place. While other kids his age may have had their ears trained on more urban sounds, he more or less had a steady diet of traditional country and southern rock. From an early age, he was drawn to honest and earnest lyrics from artists like Merle Haggard, Hank Williams Jr., Alan Jackson, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Once he outgrew singing “Simple Man” at the local Moose Lodge, he was off to Nashville, nearly 400 miles away. By 2009, when he was 25 years old, he had a breakout hit with “Small Town USA.” He ranked 10 more number ones since then, including his classic “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away,” and the recent smash “With a Woman You Love.” The upbeat love song honors his enduring union with his wife, Kate, a South Louisiana native whom he met on Spring Break in Florida when they were both on their senior trips.

A Normal Life Over Nashville

“I lived in Nashville for almost a decade, but moving back home was a conscious decision on our part,” says Moore, now 39. “I didn’t want my kids to be affected negatively by my choice to do this as a career. And I wanted them to have as normal an upbringing as they possibly could.”

When time permits, that country lifestyle includes carefully stalking a whitetail deer or casting a line for bass or crappie. “One of my grandpas taught me how to fish, and the other one taught me how to hunt,” he says. “Now that my kids have gotten to the age that they can go with me, that’s so much fun. You can’t replace those moments.”

Making Memories Beats All Else

Choosing to live so far from Nashville has had its challenges, he says, but the rewards are so much greater. “Sure, I’ve missed out on some opportunities, but I just want to be the best dad I can be and the best husband I can be more than anything,” Moore says.

So if that means heading up softball practice on a Tuesday night instead of headlining the Grand Ole Opry, then so be it. “I know I only have so much time with my kids to do those things and make those memories, and I’m not willing to sacrifice those for anything that I can gain in my career.”


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