Justin Moore is one of my favorite artists. He first burst onto the country scene with his hit "Small Town USA" in the fall of 2009 and has three top ten singles, two at number one. His sophomore album "Outlaws Like Me" has already climbed to #1 on the country albums and has produced a number one hit, "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away". Moore stated that his goal with this album was to create some real country music, the stuff that George Strait would make, and I think he has succeeded.
Redneck Side - This is a song that was cut from his debut album, but Moore plays it at his concerts and it became such a fan favorite, he had to re-cut it for the new album. It is a great party song, and serves perfectly as the lead-off song for the album. The song talks about how, no matter how hard he tries, he cannot hide who he really is. He goes to fancy parties and meets his girlfriend's parents, and tries to act proper, but eventually, he cannot help it, his redneck side comes out and he ends up "in their pool at 2am/ wearin' nothin' but a farmer's tan/ No I can't hide my redneck side/ It's in my blood till the day I die"
My Kind Of Woman - After showing off his "Redneck Side", Moore tells us about the redneck kind of woman that he likes, saying "She looks good on my tractor/ Good in my truck/ Good in her bed when the sun comes up/ She's good with a cane pole/ Good with a gun/ It's cornbread, sweet tea where she's from/ She's my kind of woman/ good as they come". The blend of a little rock and a little romance slows the pace that the lead track started just enough to make a seamless transition to the lead-off single that follows.
If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away - Anyone who listened to Moore's debut album knows that he loves his late grandfather, and misses him dearly. Justin wishes that heaven were just a bit closer, so he could "Pack up the kids and go for the day/ Introduce them to their grandpa/ Watch 'em laugh at the way he talks". Moore continues to list off the people he would visit while their: The girls who died from the class of 99, his bird dog, Bo, Hank Williams Sr., Janis Joplin, and his cousin, who died in Vietnam. "Heaven" is definitely one that will strike home with everyone who hears it as they think about who they would see if they could just drive to heaven for a day. The song is already a hit, having reached #1 on the charts. Enjoy the video:
Run Out Of Honky Tonks - Honky Tonks is what people think of when they think of the negative side of country: My baby left me and I am trying to drink her away. Moore nails it though, as he tells about trying to run to every bar where she might not catch up to him. He realizes it is not working though, wondering "what if I run out of honky tonks/ Before I get over her?" Moore manages to take this stereotypical song, and apply his unique twang to make it his.
Beer Time - Moore apparently is over his woman woes, as the mood picks up with "Beer Time". He has just made it "Country Rich" with his bird dog having had babies that he can sell for a pretty penny. He has a couple debts off, but more importantly, he has an empty ice chest, and that is the issue he is determined to remedy, heading with the boys to the county line to pick up some beer. Then it is off to the muddy roads and a Hank Jr concert for an awesome weekend. This song, combined with "Redneck Side" make an awesome combination for a bar or party scene, and I find myself singing it all the time.
Bait A Hook - Ever had an ex that you saw with a new guy/girl who was the exact OPPOSITE of you, and the opposite of everything that ex said she wanted in a relationship? Pretty sure everyone has, and Justin tackles this is a humorous way, making for my favorite track on the album. Moore is not worried though, as this guy, who Can't bait a hook, skin a buck, has no idea who Jack Daniels is, and eats sushi and drinks umbrella drinks will quickly bore her and she will come crawling back. Anyone who has been in this situation will find themselves laughing, thinking "Yup, been there done that". It is easy to see why this is the new single from the album, and will hopefully climb high on the charts.
Flyin' Down A Back Road - Moore has been everywhere, and feels like he has done everything, starting off with "I've been on the Grand Ole Opry/ I played a show with ZZ Top/ Went on tour with Skynard/ And man they still rock/ Shot the bull with Bosephus/ Before he climbed up on his jet/ Played South Florida with Alan Jackson/ That's some things that you never forget". But none of that compares to being home, relaxing, and spending time with friends and family. The song makes it obvious that he is grateful for all of his opportunities, but still enjoys the small town roots where he came from. It is a bit slower, but very catchy, and he paints a vivid picture that one can almost design their own music video in their head.
If You Don't Like My Twang - Moore's version of "Kiss My Country Ass" is not as catchy, but still a lot of fun, even throwing in a reference to the song that made him famous. "I don't care if you don't like my twang/ Cause I know they love it in Small Town USA/ It's the way I live/ It's the way I talk/ Hell yeah, it's the way I sing/ So I don't care, if you don't like my twang". Moore comes off almost arrogant in this song, but his attitude makes it work.
Guns - This is easily my least favorite song on the album. I feel as if the "political stance" is just too overdone in country music, whether it is most of what Toby Keith makes or Brad Paisley's "Welcome to the Future" or a lot of Charlie Daniels music. but Moore is determined to make it known that he loves his guns, and there is no way you are going to take them from him as long as he lives. The song itself is not bad, but political is overused and makes it feel a bit old.
Sunshine Babies - Justin Moore contributes his piece to the likes of Jason Aldean's "She's Country", singing about what he loves about the various girls in different parts of the country. "All across the land, workin' on a tan/ Drivin' country boys crazy". The song definitely fits in with that style and makes for a great highway driving song.
Til My Last Day - The singer has not had a very clean past, and most people say that his woman should give up on him, as he is no good for her. But he is determined to prove them wrong, that he can change and that he is going to love her until his last breath. Moore does a great job again of mixing the romance in without slowing the song done too much, saving the slow stuff for the final two songs.
Bed Of My Chevy - Even though I am a Dodge Fan, "Bed Of My Chevy" is one of my favorite songs. He is determined to prove what he said in the previous song, driving out to the middle of nowhere and treating his woman to the best view in town of the moon and fireflies. The song feels like a direct sequel to "Like There's No Tomorrow" off the debut album, and it serves well in that role.
Outlaws Like Me - Moore turns inward as he reflects on who he is on this title track. He has been everything, good and bad, whiskey pounder and church goer, "But each days a choice, which one I'm gonna be/ God bless outlaws like me". He knows his full potential on either end of the spectrum and is thankful that God loves him for who he is. The slow end to the album is a beautifully written song, putting a lot of the focus on Moore's voice and guitar. After he finishes singing, the guitar comes in again for about two minutes as the album draws to a close.
Overall, Justin Moore's "Outlaws Like Me" is almost pure country gold. He does a brilliant job of taking the songs and making them his own, and his voice is one of those distinguishable voices in a genre of clones. The album is mixed beautifully, transitioning from fast to slow rather than jumping like most albums do. "Outlaws" is easily the best country album to come out so far in 2011. 9.5/10