Justin Moore. Photo by J. Meyers
CHUCK DAUPHIN •Sounds Like Nashville
I really hesitate to put Justin Moore in the list of “New Country” artists. There are a couple of reasons for this. For starters, he’s been on the charts since 2008 – almost a decade, and he’s also carved out a reputation as one of the most traditional based artists out there these days.
I’m glad to say that for this, his fourth studio album, most of the moments are still like that. There’s a little bit of a subtle shift in his sound on this album as opposed to his past work. I wouldn’t say it’s as drastic as what we’ve seen from Thomas Rhett as of late, but fans may notice a little bit of a slide toward a more contemporary sound.
However, that being said, when things do go a bit in a new direction arrangement-wise – just like with Billy Sherrill’s work with George Jones in the 1970s and strings – the Arkansas twang in his voice is even more pronounced. You can hear this combination loud and clear on songs such as “Hell On A Highway,” which is certainly one of the most adventurous tracks he has cut. But, it works because he makes no attempt to hide the Country sound in his voice. Truth be told, the song could actually wind up being one of his biggest hits. “Somebody Else Will” is also a song very much in this vein that works well, too, thanks to some killer harmonies from the divine Sarah Buxton.
But, a lot of this album will sound very familiar to his longtime fans. “Robbin’ Trains” has a wide open and care-free sound that pays tribute to a way of life the singer might have lived had he came up during the old West. “Put Me In A Box” is one of the most unique love songs I have heard in a while, and he hits the twang factor in fine fashion on the fun title cut.
The biggest surprise – and departure – for me as a listener to this disc comes with “Between You and Me.” It’s a romantic tune, but not in the flowers and candy tradition. Pretend for just a moment that Conway Twitty were a hit recording artist in 2016. He would have torn this song up. Moore does exactly the same. Possibly, because it’s because he’s never done anything this suggestive, but it works – damn well. If I were Valory, I would highly consider this as the follow-up to “You Look Like I Need A Drink,” which has been one of the most entertaining songs on the airwaves in 2016.
If any of this has you worried that Moore is going to be hanging with Timbaland and Drake anytime soon, don’t. “More Middle Fingers,” which features Brantley Gilbertis full of that smart-ass Southern swagger……that’s actually more true than some might tend to agree with. It likely won’t be a radio single, but I can only imagine the reaction this one will get live.
It wouldn’t be fair to expect any artist – Moore included – to release the same album time in and time out, and here, the singer seems like he is in a solid place with that evolution – one fans will (and should) appreciate!
Kinda Don’t Care is available for purchase HERE