Justin Moore Admits He Sometimes Feels “Nonexistent” In The Music Industry

“We’ve never had to be a part of a lot of awards shows or anything. It’s like we’re sometimes just nonexistent,” Moore admitted.

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Melinda Lorge

Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Music Mayhem, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

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Posted on May 16, 2023

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Justin Moore; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

Justin Moore doesn’t follow the pack. He makes his own rules and is unapologetically, authentically himself. That mindset has paid off for him immensely, despite the ever-changing country music format. 

As with previous work, Moore shows yet again that he can deviate from the trends in country music with his latest album, aptly titled Stray Dog.

Stray Dog Features Two Duets

The project, which dropped on Friday (May 5) via Valory Music Co., features eight standout tracks that includes two collaborations – the first, “You Me And Whiskey” with Priscilla Block, and the second, “Everybody Get Along,” featuring Riley Green. 

“Everybody Get Along”

Of the latter, Moore says in a press release: “To have Riley be a part of it, a guy who I have a ton of respect for as an artist, is great. I love the way he’s fashioned his career. He’s got that “it-factor.” We grew up the same way. He’s an Alabama guy; I’m an Arkansas guy. I’m happy to have him be a part of it.”

“The song idea came randomly on one of those writers’ retreats down in Florida. We’d written a couple of songs that day, so every time we’re down there and get a song or two written by the afternoon, we’re feeling good about ourselves, and we can have a beer or two and relax. That’s the way this song came about, as I recall.” 

“You Me And Whiskey”

As for “You Me And Whiskey,” he shares, “I’ve done several duets over the years with Miranda, Charlie Daniels, etc., but we’ve never actually released a duet as a single. I liked the idea of cutting a song that was a little more sultry than most of what I’ve done [and] I was contemplating who to approach to do the other part, and maybe a couple of months prior to getting that song, I played a show with Lee Brice, Chase Rice, and then this new artist Priscilla Block…. was blown away by her. The rest of us would play a hit, and she’d tell some great story and sing her butt off, and the crowd would go berserk. I was very impressed. Hadn’t heard of her at the time, but she and I spoke that evening, and I told her, “Anything I can do for you, I’d be more than happy to help in any way I can.” She’s got a really bright future ahead of her.”

Like he has many times before, Moore’s approach in putting songs together for the project found him leaning onto his judgment and co-writing all but one song for the collection. 

He has built success around the method of writing the majority of his songs, having earned 10 No. 1 hits on the Billboard Country Airplay chart with “The Woman You Love,” “Til My Last Day,” “Lettin’ The Night Roll,” “The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back Home,” and more.

“An Outlaw”

Recognized as a country traditionalist, Justin Moore keeps his fans in mind when he segues into new material. He says although he is conscious about his decisions, he never planned on being an outlier in his genre. 

“Not by design at all, but from the beginning of my career, I’ve been dubbed an outlier or a bit of an outlaw,” Moore recently told Billboard in an interview. ”I don’t really know why. In the middle of my career, when rap-country and the pop-country stuff became popular. That’s just not what I do.”

Justin Moore; Photo by Cody Villalobos
Justin Moore; Photo by Cody Villalobos

“We just made a conscious decision that I’m gonna do what I do and let the chips fall where they may. Thankfully, radio stuck with us when that was a major trend, and now it’s cycled back to a more traditional sound,” he continued. “But for me to go out there and chase something just because it’s popular, my fans would be like, ‘Dude, that ain’t you.’”

Often Feels “Nonexistent”

Moore says he’s happy and content where he stands in country music. But that wasn’t always the case. Looking back at his 20s, Moore says he used to worry about the pressures of attending awards shows because he felt the need to be defined by others in the industry. 

“We’ve never had to be a part of a lot of awards shows or anything. It’s like we’re sometimes just nonexistent,” Moore explained. “When I was in my mid-20s, it bothered me. That’s human nature. But now I’m almost 40 years old, and I’m thankful to have the career I have. I don’t really think about that stuff — I’m thankful I don’t have to wear a suit. You control what you can control and let go of the rest. I did that a lot of years ago, and I’ve been much more at peace.”

Justin Moore; Photo by Cody Villalobos
Justin Moore; Photo by Cody Villalobos

Song Inspired By 50 Cent’s “Get Rich Or Die Tryin”

Moore, who, with his family, currently resides in Arkansas – close enough to the bustling music scene of Nashville, Tenn., but far enough to do his craft on his terms, said he was inspired by 50 Cent when it came to compiling Stray Dog. That is evident on the track “Get Rich or Drunk Trying” a playoff of 50 Cent’s “Get Rich or Die Tryin.’”

“This is an idea that I’ve had. I don’t know if I saw a quote or something, but I’m old enough to remember, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” Moore shares. “That’s a song title and a t-shirt right there. As a songwriter, you always keep your ears perked up. That was years ago. We all keep notes of ideas for song titles. I’ve thrown that idea out as a title for that long.”

“That Wasn’t Jack”

Elsewhere, on the project, Moore pours his heart out in hopes to save a relationship in the radio-ready uptempo track “The Wasn’t Jack.” In “With A Woman You Love,” Moore captivates listeners while showcasing his romantic side and sharing everything that makes a relationship exciting.  

“Stray Dogs”

As for the title track, Moore says, “I think this was a great example of what people are going to get on this album…. It’s autobiographical – me personally, maybe more so me as an artist. I’ve kind of been the guy who’s fallen under the radar my entire career, which is totally fine with me. We go out and have X amount of hits, sell X amount of albums, and then we never get asked to be on the awards shows, which remains the case.”

“Moving back to Arkansas 12 years ago was not a popular thing. I don’t necessarily play the game the same way everyone else plays it,” he continues. “I’ve always tried to be honest with my fans, which has not always been popular in certain areas. I’ve got to be able to go to bed at night and be proud of myself and my career. I’m a bit of an outcast. I thought that was a great metaphor – a stray dog. My producer had the idea for the song, and I loved it. I hope it’s not too personal. I think once they read what I just said, they’ll totally understand.”

Additionally, Justin Moore has a handful of show dates scheduled throughout the year, including next stops in Winterhaven, Calif., at the Pipa Event Center on May 25, and Scottsdale, AZ, at the Talking Stick Resort on May 26. For a complete listing of Moore’s tour dates, visit his official website HERE

Stray Dog Track List

  1. “Everybody Get Along” ft. Riley Green 
  2. “That Wasn’t Jack”  
  3. “With A Woman You Love” 
  4. “Better Slow” 
  5. “Stray Dogs” 
  6. “Country On It” 
  7. “You Me And Whiskey” ft. Priscilla Block 
  8. “Get Rich Or Drunk Trying”
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Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Music Mayhem, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

See more posts from Melinda Lorge