Justin Moore tour heats up Troy’s Hobart Arena

White-hat outlaw Justin Moore kinda doesn’t care.

By Alan Sculley

Justin Moore was not one of those people who grew up dreaming about having a career in music, where he’d make albums and tour around the country.

“I had no desire to do this for a living,” Moore says. “I was 17 years old before I had ever played music in any capacity other than growing up and singing in church. And that was because my mama made me.

“I think subconsciously it obviously gave me a little bit of experience in front of people and maybe subconsciously I liked it back in the day,” he says. “But my dad actually and mom, before I was going to go to college wanted me to record some stuff just for them to have. So I went in (to a studio) kicking and screaming. I did like an old George Strait and old, old Waylon Jennings and that kind of stuff. And my mom and dad started playing it for people and people just kind of flipped out about it. My dad came up to me one day and said ‘What do you think about playing music for a living?’”

Moore was pretty much dumbstruck by that notion. But he had an outlet that enabled him to test the waters of playing music.

“My uncle has always been in a rock band and I started playing with them and kind of fell in love with it. And I thought ‘Man, I didn’t even know you could do this for a living,’” Moore explains. “So I moved to Nashville when I was 18, and fortunately God opened a lot of doors that led to more open doors and here we are.”

Where Moore is now is touring behind his recently released fourth studio album, “Kinda Don’t Care” (his third straight album to debut atop the “Billboard” magazine Country Albums chart). The first two singles from the new album, “You Look Like I Need a Drink” and “Somebody Else Will,” have given Moore his fifth and sixth No. 1 singles. His current single, the album’s title track has climbed into the top 30 on “Billboard’s” Country Airplay singles chart.

A decade in, Moore looks very much like an artist who will have a long and successful music career. Although he hasn’t had the huge commercial breakthrough he’ll need to become a top tier country star, Moore continues to have consistent success. His first two albums, 2009’s “Justin Moore” and 2011’s “Outlaws Like Me,” both went gold. His third album, 2013’s “Off The Beaten Path,” didn’t sell as well, but it produced a single, “Lettin’ The Night Roll,” that topped the Country Airplay chart and a No. 2 single in “Point at You.”

In addition to showing his ability to be a consistent hit-maker, Moore’s four albums have also established him as one of country’s edgier presences. With a muscular sound that puts a modern touch on songs rooted in the ‘70s outlaw era, Moore has the same kind of rough-around-the-edges appeal of artists like Toby Keith and Brantley Gilbert.

“Kinda Don’t Care” continues down that path. The album comes out rocking with “Robbin’ Trains,” a tune as propulsive as a locomotive, and keeps its edge the rest of the way. The echoes of outlaw country shine through on sturdy tunes like “You Look Like I Need a Drink,” “Hell On A Highway” and the title track, while ballads like “Between You And Me” and “Put Me In A Box,” are as tough as they are tender.

Moore says he put extra time and effort into finding the right songs for “Kinda Don’t Care.” He wanted to make sure he had an album that stayed true to his sound, but also introduced a few new wrinkles into this music.

“I was quite a bit more selective (in choosing the songs),” Moore said. “You’re always concerned, I don’t want to disappoint (fans) by doing this or that, but at the same time, I do want to try this and try that. So I think the later on in your career it gets, such as ours, I think you do put more thought into it (the album making process).”

Moore is getting his chance to see what fans think about some of his new songs as he does a headlining tour this spring, while keeping fans entertained throughout his show.

“I know what we bring to our shows is going to be high energy,” Moore says. “For me, in particular, I tell my band every night it’s our job to go out and throw a party for a couple of hours. And we just go have a good time, and that’s infectious. If we’re having fun on stage and the audience can tell that, then they’re going to have a good time.”

Justin Moore’s Hell on a Highway Tour will stop at Hobart Arena, 255 Adams St., Troy on May 5 at 7:30 p.m. For tickets or more information, call 937.339.2911, or visit hobartarena.com.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Alan Sculley at AlanSculley@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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