If you’re one of those fans who loves Justin Moore’s “beer-drinking songs,” as he calls them, don’t worry. His brand-new album serves up a few of them, and a lot more including his new hit song, “Stray Dogs.”
Stray Dog, his seventh studio album since he hit the Nashville scene a decade and a half ago, shows a lot of depth from Moore both as an artist and the family man he’s grown into.
“When I started out I was a kid who was as green as a blade of grass and wild, and now I’m a dad of four and I’ve been married for 15 years,” says Moore. “As you mature as a human being it’s only natural that you mature as a professional, and particularly when you’re doing something as artistic as songwriting.”
The album kicks off with an easy-rolling duet with a timely message. Moore chose Riley Green as his good-natured sparring partner for “Everybody Get Along.” The moral of this true-to-life tale is that it’s OK for friends to disagree. In the song, one of them drives a Ford truck and the other a Chevy, and one drinks Jack Daniel’s on the rocks while his buddy favors Crown and Coke. Both are hunters, but one swears by Realtree’s camo over Mossy Oak’s.
“The irony of it is these guys are just alike,” says Moore. “That’s what makes it fun, and also because it’s honky-tonk stylistically, like Jerry Reed-meets-Waylon Jennings, which are two of my favorites.”
More classic country sounds dominate throughout the album, in keeping with Moore’s proven method. Speaking more generally about this music, he says: “I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel. It’s straight-ahead country, what people who’ve been following my career would expect.”
His recent number-one single, “With a Woman You Love,” which is also part of the new album, did show fans a more personal side of Moore. He reveals that he didn’t see it as a hit single at first but his wife, Kate, helped convince him.
The album’s centerpiece of sorts, “Stray Dogs,” offers his characterization of himself as somewhat of an outsider, an artist not satisfied with running with the pack. As a result, he says, he’s sometimes found himself outside the Music City mainstream despite his unquestionable success. One aspect, in particular, he says, is industry awards. He’s won a few, but many others have escaped his grasp. “And that’s not sour grapes, it’s just me being completely honest. I think there are lot of people out there who can relate to that. I’m almost 40 years old now, so I’m willing to put it out there.”
As for that lead-off track on Stray Dog, Moore says he hopes the song’s serious message resonates beyond the humorous delivery that he and Green had so much fun with in the studio. “I have friends that believe the total opposite of what I believe, and we can still be friends,” he says. “We can have a conversation and disagree and then have a beer together. I think this world would be a better place if everybody had that approach, quite honestly.”