Platinum-selling Arkansas native Justin Moore recently scored a musical "hat trick" by having his last three consecutive albums debut at the #1 chart slot on the country music charts.
Moore's fourth studio album, "Kinda Don't Care," just gave him his seventh and latest #1 single. All seven -- from his first "Small Town USA" to his latest "Somebody Else Will" -- will be heard live on stage Saturday when Moore's "Hell On A Highway Tour" stops at Star Plaza Theatre, with special guest Dylan Scott.
THE TIMES caught up with the 33-year-old Valory Music/Big Machine recording artist last week, while he was relaxing at the new home he and his wife built in the small town of Poyen, Arkansas. After a decade in Nashville, Tennessee chasing the neon rainbow and finding it, Moore relocated his young family back to the farmland of his youth.
THE TIMES: In 10 years, you've gone from being a struggling club act to playing large theaters and arenas, earning plenty of gold and platinum records for your walls. Reflect on that accomplishment.
JUSTIN MOORE: "It's all been pretty unbelievable to be quite honest. This year celebrated a decade of doing this for me and it still doesn't seem quite real. I'm so beyond thankful to country radio and the fans. I don't know what to attribute it to, but I'm very, very thankful for all that's happened."
TIMES: Sometimes when in the eye of the hurricane so to speak, one doesn't notice the things going on around them.
J.M. : "While you are going through the day to day process, it's just that -- day to day -- and you're focused on the next day and the tasks at hand, whether doing a show or recording, or a TV show, or whatever... Then you get home, take a breath, and you find yourself thinking -- 'My gosh, how did all this happen?'"
TIMES: Some videos on your web site show you crouched down and staring out at the audience with a look of disbelief on your face, like you are having some kind of epiphany.
J.M.: "I'm a really emotional guy. I've cried at shows because I look out there and just can't believe that this is all happening to me. I still think of myself as a country music fan, not a country music artist. I look in the mirror and I see the same face I've always seen. I see ME, not Justin Moore the country artist."
TIMES: Did you always want to be a performer?
J.M.: My uncle was and still is in a Southern rock band. I played shows with him and that first night I was on stage, I was like -- 'I want to do this again. You mean you can make a living doing this?' But when you're a kid growing up in a town with a population of 300 and you tell people you want to play music for a living, they look at you like you have three heads, because that doesn't happen in a town like this, until it does. It blows me away that I grew up right here and yet somehow accomplished the things I have in my career. I've had the good fortune for the last 14 or 15 years to be surrounded by people who are not only very wise, but who also care as much as I do about my music and my career. We know how blessed we are for sure, and don't take any of it for granted, so yeah, I have a lot of those 'pinch me' moments for sure. The other day, someone asked me for an autograph and said how I must be tired of being asked. Honestly, I still can't believe someone cares enough about my music to ask me to sign something."
TIMES: You started your recording career about the same time you got married and started your family. Starting a recording career and starting a family at the same time had to be a lot to juggle.
J.M.: "A bit (laughing), but the two have something in common. I actually signed my record contract at my wedding reception, so that was the most important day in both my personal life and my career. I get to celebrate two anniversaries that day each year."
TIMES: So what's next?
J.M.: "More writing, recording, performing and just continuing to do what I'm doing, and hoping people continue to come along on this journey with me."