On his second album, Outlaws Like Me, Arkansas native Justin Moore wears his redneck heart on his sleeve, discussing topics ranging from love and family to guns and beer. With radio-ready hooks and accessible production, Outlaws aims to take the 27-year old singer/songwriter from “Small Town, USA” straight to Main Street.
Moore’s never been one to make apologies for his rowdy side – and he certainly isn’t about to start. Wasting no time to share stories, he jumps right in amidst big acoustic guitars and tight production on the up-tempo opener “Redneck Side,” detailing such exploits as when in-laws find him “in the pool at 2am wearin’ nothin’ but a farmer’s tan.” On the hard country-funk of “Beer Time” (written by Moore, Rhett Atkins and album producer Jeremy Stover), Moore muses in his heavy Southern drawl that “bird dog just had her puppies, that’s a hundred dollars cash a piece/ this ol’ boy struck it country rich, at least for a couple weeks.” After making a little money on the deal, it’s time for chillin’ down a 12-pack in the cooler and hitting the Hank Jr. concert before doing anything else.
Friends, a few good stories and a drive out past the city limits definitely seem to make up Moore’s country utopia. On the ringing ballad “Flyin’ Down A Back Road,” he sings “I’m a lucky man, I got a real good life/ with all the things I’ve done, nothing gets me as high as flyin’ down a back road.” There’s a ’70s Southern rock vibe that runs through this song and others that hint at classic groups like The Marshall Tucker Band. Later in the album, “Bed Of My Chevy” begins with a lyrical guitar melody over piano and open guitar chords. The deep bass and full sound of the drums give the song a heavier, rocking swagger as Moore sings, “Baby slide off your boots down to your bare feet, those cutoffs and tan lines are killing me/ Move on over, lay your head on my shoulder, we’ll stay a while.”
Justin co-wrote 11 of the album’s 13 songs and uses the opportunity to unapologetically express his thoughts on some more divisive issues. The not-so-subtly titled “Guns” delivers on its perception as a pro-NRA anthem. “I’m gonna tell you once and listen son/ As long as I’m alive and breathing, you won’t take my guns,” Moore sings through a chorus of heavy electric guitar twang and swirling pedal steel.
The album does have a gentler side as well. Songs such as the great acoustic-based first single “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away,” which reminisces on those who’ve already passed on, provide a sense of contrast and deeper meaning next to the album’s more lighthearted tracks. But be it lighthearted or heavy, Outlaws Like Me lays it all out there for Moore with 13 songs on topics that are important to him and will likely be important to his fans old and new as well.