There is something distinctly off about the newest record from Kip Moore, the country singer who burst onto the scene with the tailgate anthem “Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck” in 2012.
SLOWHEART, which was released Sept. 8, does not actually feel like a country record, and certainly not like kind of bro-country one would expect from a man whose most played song on Spotify is called “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck.”
Part of that has to do with the image Moore is crafting. In an interview with Rolling Stone from couple of years ago, Moore talked about how after getting setback on a failed sophomore album, he turned down a couple of “surefire” hit songs simply because he did not write them.
Knowing the background details helps when listening to his more recent output because of the authenticity it lends.
The majority of the songs on SLOWHEART deal with the usual country topics: drinking, failed relationships and playing guitar.
Moore is another in the lineage of the working class musicians, with more in common with the likes of Bob Seger or Bruce Springsteen. This is thing that sets Moore apart from his contemporaries – Luke Bryan or Florida Georgia Line or any musicians 90 percent of the bars on Broadway are going to bump to the delight of the 17 bachelorette parties there.
It might seem silly to compare Moore, who has a song on the album about all the amazing things he’s done since he became famous – including, apparently, smoking cigarettes with Slash and discussing Johnny Cash with the Pope over coffee – with Seger or Springsteen but it is an apt comparison.
It is no doubt aided by Moore’s deeper, slightly twangy growl, one that conjures up images of a scruffy dude with calloused on his hands.
That doesn’t really show the romance at the heart of this album.Of the 13 tracks on the album, about 11 of them are about women. Some of them are wistful, I-wish-things-could-have-gone-differently, while others are about finding that perfect girl, settling down and “raising a couple more girls like you.”
One of them, my personal favorite, is even a bit meta. On “Just Another Girl,” Moore recognizes the sheer number of songs about girls written by guys like himself.
“I’m just another boy/In another band/You’re just another girl/I put in a song.”
There is some depth to his music, however, most prominently displayed in the album’s closer, “Guitar Man.”
It’s a lot slower than everything else on the album, which is saying something, as this is not a particularly up-tempo record.
The song is what you would get if you crossed “Piano Man” with “Turn the Page,” an ode to the grueling life of a musician on the road, trying to make it to the top.
There’s a sense of sadness, a weariness that comes from a man who plays around 200 shows across the country.
Overall I did enjoy this album, more than I thought I would because I fell into the same trap presumably many will in thinking that Moore is just more bro-country.
I would recommend it to everyone who likes country music, as there is enough to satisfy everyone’s tastes, plus anyone looking for something to throw on while drinking PBR and reminiscing about the one who got away.