Up All Night, which includes the hit “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck,” is infused with relentless intensity, both of passion and frustration, that is earning rave reviews from critics. His energetic live shows, including a spring tour with Billy Currington and David Nail, are quickly drawing a large and enthusiastic fan base.
“For years, I have been searching for the missing link between blue-collar rock and country music,” says noted journalist/historian Robert K. Oermann, who writes for Music Row magazine. “This year, I think I have heard it. His name is Kip Moore. There is fiery, urgent intensity in his voice. His lyrics vibrate with conviction and true grit. The melodies have gripping, heart-in-throat passion. And the roaring, propulsive performances on his debut album sound like signposts on the highway to some Southern-fried Born to Run. Dare I say it? This man just might be the hillbilly Springsteen.”
Says Billboard Country Monitor’s Tom Roland, “Gritty, earthy vocals layered over powerfully simple arrangements. Moore isn’t flashy, but the subtle frame he creates for his blue-collar portraits make the images seem that much more real. It also suggests he’s confident in his songs and his performance. Which he ought to be.”
Kip chose Up All Night as the album’s title because the phrase has multiple meanings to him. “I spent so many late nights writing this record,” he says. “I was up until three or four in the morning listening to records and practicing and writing songs and being engulfed in the whole process for years. I had a lot of dark moments along the way and spent late nights crafting these songs. But it can also mean just the late nights on the road having a good time. It means a variety of things, and that’s why I went with that title and the song is one my favorites on the album.”
Kip, who had a hand in writing all 11 songs on the album, isn’t interested in depicting a fairy-tale kind of love. “I am drawn to the real-life experiences between a woman and a man. I try to sing about the way it is, but yet at the same time, what you can hope for between a couple. I don’t intend to paint a picture of what it’s really not.”
Up All Night reveals some of the contradictions that he grapples with personally. Although he’s from a large family and enjoys musical collaborations and performing onstage, he’s an introvert who is often more comfortable being alone. “There’s a combativeness to the music too, a fight within,” he says. “With ‘Faith When I Fall,’ I know how bad I need that spiritual realm, but yet I find myself on this other end a lot of times.”
Despite its edge, his music remains desperately optimistic. “I am hoping for what I have yet to become,” he says. “I feel like it’s hopeful for what I’ve yet reached, how I look forward to feeling, but I haven’t gotten there yet.
“I have truly lived my music to a sense, even the milestones I haven’t reached yet,” he says. “I have been in those moments. I’ve been at those crossroads with a girl: ‘Are we going to take that next step?’ I look forward to taking that next step, but I haven’t wanted to yet. I look forward to being ready for that.”
He was born in Tifton, Ga., near the Florida line, and was one of six children, the youngest boy who had three younger sisters. “You had to make your own fun, for sure,” he says of Tifton. “I had a lot of time for daydreaming. It was a great town, but I dreamed about getting out. I do enjoy going back now.”
His father was a golf pro and his mother was a painter who used anything handy for a canvas, whether it was cake plates or baby crates. She also taught piano and played the church organ. Weekends were often spent driving to the beach with his father for fishing expeditions. “He would play a lot of Jackson Browne, Willie Nelson, Bob Seger, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen,” he says. “As early as I can remember, I always gravitated toward lyrics. Even when I hadn’t lived enough to understand them, they still shaped me. “
During high school, he began playing his brother’s guitar, but his focus largely remained on athletics. He played point guard for Wallace State’s basketball team and also played on its golf team in Hanceville, Ala., for two years and then transferred to Valdolsta State University on a golf scholarship. But music became a growing passion. He wrote songs daily and joined a band that performed throughout the South, providing him with all of his income.
After graduation, he moved to Hawaii on a whim with just a backpack, a surfboard and a friend. They slept on an airport bench the first night and then lucked into a hut that was $50 a month. After six months of this tropical paradise, Kip thought he had found his permanent home until his friend encouraged him to pursue songwriting as a living.
“I didn’t know a whole lot about the world of songwriting,” he says. “I just did it for my own enjoyment. We talked about Nashville and I ended up saying, ‘I’m going to give it a shot.’ I flew back home and told my folks. They thought I was crazy. Now they’ll say different, that they knew all along.”
He drove to Nashville on Jan. 1, 2004 in an old black Nissan truck that contained one bag and his guitar. He immersed himself in the songwriting community, observing songwriters’ rounds for two years and honing his craft before gaining the confidence to join in. After four years of performing locally, he caught the attention of Creative Artist Agency’s Marc Dennis, who called Universal Music Group Nashville’s Joe Fisher. Not only did Joe’s encounter lead to his record deal with MCA Nashville, but it also brought about his introduction to songwriter Brett James, who produced Kip’s debut album.
“Brett gave me the freedom to find who I was as an artist, the freedom for writing a different kind of thing, a different kind of melody and lyric,” he says. “He gave me room to grow.”
He also found important relationships with songwriters Dan Couch, Scott Steppakoff, Westin Davis and Kiefer Thompson. “There was definitely a special thing when we got in the room together,” Kip says. “They were open to my ideas of being different.”
And different his debut project is, as evidenced his first hit, ‘Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck,” which was written from personal experience. “I think anybody that comes from a small town has lived that song. I lived that song 5,000 times growing up. When you are from a small town like I am, there’s not a whole lot to do. You have to make your own fun and there’s a whole lot of sitting in fields, and a whole lot of Bud Light and fishing poles. It’s real hot in south Georgia, so all of the girls were wearing sundresses. It was all you needed back then – a truck bed, a radio and good company with you.”
The anthemic “Drive Me Crazy” is the story of two troubled teens who find a safe harbor in each other, if only for a few fleeting moments. “They are the getaway car for each other from everyday life,” he says. “When they’re together, what they live in is in the rear-view mirror and it’s just one big infatuation love story that lasts for a very short time.”
When Kip plays shows, he’s often asked for advice by aspiring songwriters. “Everybody’s experience is different, but I do believe it has to be the only thing,” he says. “I don’t think it can be a gray line. Either you want it and there’s nothing else or it’s not going to happen.”
For instance, Kip was offered a sales position with an enticing salary, but it required working six days a week, leaving no time for creating music. “You come to the crossroads: do you really want this? Are you willing to sacrifice everything, including relationships? I can’t tell you how many relationships have been doomed from the get-go because of this.
“It only took me a few minutes to decline it. It’s such a risk and it’s an alone feeling – you feel like you’re on an island by yourself – but it’s worth every single minute. Had I taken that job, I wouldn’t be sitting here today.”
He moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 2004, where songwriter and producer Brett James helped him sign a publishing deal. He spent four years in Nashville before signing to a record deal with MCA Nashville. Moore released his debut single “Mary Was the Marrying Kind” in early 2011. (Karlie Justus of The 9513 gave the song a “thumbs up”, praising the lyrics but criticizing the “heavy-handed production”. It entered the Hot Country Songs charts at number 58 on the chart dated for the week ending April 2, 2011, peaking at number 45.
Moore also co-wrote two tracks, “All the Way” and “Let’s Fight”, from Thompson Square’s self-titled debut album, which was released in February 2011. “Let’s Fight” was released as Thompson Square’s debut single in 2010, and briefly charted on Billboard Hot Country Songs, reaching number 58. He also co-wrote James Wesley’s single “Walking Contradiction”.
On September 27, he released his second single, “Somethin’ ’bout a Truck”. The song was included on his debut album. Up All Night, which MCA released in April 2012. A month later, “Somethin’ ’bout a Truck” reached number 1 on the country charts. “Beer Money” is the album’s second single.
Kip Moore was born and raised in Tifton, Georgia. Moore’s father was golf pro, and Kip intially followed in his father’s athletic footsteps. He earned a golf scholarship to Florida’s Valdosta State University, but during school music began to exert a greater hold on his life.
While in college, Moore toured with a band and began to consider a musical future.
“I started playing guitar like when I was 17,” Moore said in an interview with The Boot in 2012. “But where I’m from, you just don’t hear about people moving to Nashville and making it,” says the musician, who grew up in a family of six children. “It was such a foreign thing to me. I never knew music was an option for me.”
After graduation, he moved to Nashville like many before him with his eyes on the prize: writing and recording country songs.
Paying His Dues on Music Row:
Although Moore arrived in Nashville in 2004, it wasn’t until 2008 that his solo career started to gain traction. He’d earned some attention as a songwriter, writing tunes for Thompson Square and Jake Owen. After getting taken under the wing of producer Brett James, he inked a deal with MCA Nashville Records.
“I was really conflicted emotionally,” Moore said about the record deal to No Depression, “elated and excited, but also anxious for the journey ahead.”
Songs Written by Kip Moore:
Jake Owen – “Settin’ the World on Fire”
Thompson Square – “All the Way”
Thompson Square – “Let’s Fight”
Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck:
The singer got his first hit with his single “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck,” released September 25, 2011. In the lead up to his album release, it topped out at #9 on the U.S. country music charts and was certified gold.
According to Moore, the song was inspired from his small town background. “I lived that song 5,000 times growing up. When you are from a small town like I am, there’s not a whole lot to do,” he said in press materials. “You have to make your own fun and there’s a whole lot of sitting in fields, and a whole lot of Bud Light and fishing poles. It’s real hot in south Georgia, so all of the girls were wearing sundresses. It was all you needed back then – a truck bed, a radio and good company with you.”
In late May of 2012, the song became Moore’s first #1 country hit.
Moore’s early influences were rootsy artists such as Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, and Kris Kristofferson, in addition to more traditional country singers.
Writing and Releasing ‘Up All Night’:
On April 24, 2012, Moore release his debut album Up All Night. Unlike a lot of new artists, he had a hand in writing all 11 tracks on the record.
“I was up until three or four in the morning listening to records and practicing and writing songs and being engulfed in the whole process for years,” Moore explained of the album’s title.
“I had a lot of dark moments along the way and spent late nights crafting these songs. But it can also mean just the late nights on the road having a good time. It means a variety of things, and that’s why I went with that title and the song is one my favorites on the album.”
Up All Night debuted at #3 on the country album charts.
Kip Moore was born in Tifton, Ga., near the Florida line. He is one of six children. His father was a golf pro, and his mother was a painter who also taught piano and played the church organ. As a young man, Moore was influenced by his father’s music collection, which included Jackson Browne, Willie Nelson, Bob Seger, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen. During high school, he began playing his brother’s guitar, but his focus largely remained on athletics. He played basketball and golf in college along with writing songs every day. He also joined a band to make a living. After graduation, he moved to Hawaii on a whim with just a backpack, a surfboard and a friend. They found a hut for $50 a month. He lived there for six months until his friend encouraged him to pursue songwriting as a career. He flew home to his parents’ house, then moved to Nashville on Jan. 1, 2004. He observed the songwriting community for two years, then started playing his own shows. He attracted the attention of MCA Records and songwriter Brett James, who produced Moore’s debut album. Moore’s breakthrough single, “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck,” is featured on his debut album, Up All Night, released in April 2012.