Justin Moore has had a killer year—he won the Academy of Country Music’s New Artist of the Year Award, watched his second No. 1 country album, Off The Beaten Path, produce his fourth and fifth gold-certified No. 1 hot country song hits (“Point At You” and “Lettin’ The Night Roll”), and has most recently been on Miranda Lambert’s Certified Platinum tour.
As the nearly 30-city tour rolls into New York City to take over Madison Square Garden, EW caught up with the wide-brimmed cowboy-hat wearing singer.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tell me about the signficance of playing MSG.
JUSTIN MOORE: It’s definitely one of those bucket-list venues, so it’s exciting and maybe it’s not the “normal” setting for a country concert, but I’ve played New York City a number of times and I have learned there are rednecks and hillbillies everywhere—and it happens to be a couple of days before my birthday, so it’ll be a good birthday celebration.
EW: How’s it been out on the road with Miranda Lambert?
Moore: It’s been great. Miranda and I have been friends for a long time—over the past five or six years, I’ve toured with her more than anybody, and I’d venture to say she’s toured with me more than anybody in that timespan. It’s always great to go and tour with your friends—and we’re friends inside the business, but we’re friends outside the business, too.
EW: With the tour winding up, is it time to start making new music?
Moore: You know, we’re at a place where we’ve not been—this is the first time we’ve said, “All right, let’s just chill out for a minute and take a break from radio and really dive into new music and figure out exactly what it is we want to do.” I’m a fan of people who make a different album every time—and I’m a fan of people who still make albums as opposed to just a collection of songs—so this album will definitely be different than the last.
I’ve written more songs over the last year than I have in my entire career, so I’m excited by what we have and just need to figure out what I want this album to sound like. The trick is figuring out how to stay true to yourself and what’s gotten you to this point in your career.
EW: Are there any songs you’re ready to retire or are tired of playing at this point?
Moore: Every one of ‘em! [Laughs]. No, I’m kidding. The best I advice I ever got in this business was “Don’t cut anything that you don’t want to play for the next 20 or 30 years.” So I keep that in the back of my mind. And I’m proud of the songs we’ve made successful; I’m proud to be able to play any of them.
EW: What about favorites?
Moore: My first hit record was a song called “Small Town U.S.A.“ which is always huge. I think people recognize that it was what started us on the path to where we are. Whether you’re in a Podunk town or New York City, it always does well.
EW: And lastly, can you tell me a little bit about your involvement with Crown Royal’s Heroes Initiative?
Moore: Really, all the credit goes to Crown Royal and the Brickyard 400. They came to us a number of years ago—this is my third year—and explained what their goal was and it’s pretty cool to be a part of, in a small way. I’m thrilled to be a part of it and I encourage people to go and nominate someone from your hometown to be an everyday hero.