Kip Moore looks for lessons on tour with Tim McGraw

The Fresno BeeMay 5, 2014 

Kip Moore, left, performs a private concert for Chase Marriott Rewards Card members at The Listening Room Cafe on Saturday in Nashville. He will open for Tim McGraw on Thursday in Fresno.


Kip Moore is looking at a hectic couple of days.

He is in the midst of three-days of rehearsals in prep for a 30-plus date run of shows as one of the opening acts on Tim McGraw's "Sundown Heaven Town" tour, which kicks off Thursday night at the Save Mart Center. Cassadee Pope is the other opening act.

At the same time, he is putting the finishing touches on his sophomore album, the follow-up to his debut "Up All Night." The full album won't be released until later this year, but the final cuts were due this week and Moore suspected there would be tweaks coming until the last minute.

"I keep writing. That's my problem," says Moore, who released "Dirt Road," the first single from the album, in April.

The Georgia-born singer is a country up-and-comer. He helped usher in the current generation of truck-loving country artists with the success of his first single "Somethin' 'Bout a Truck" in 2012. It was No. 1 on the Billboard hot country chart.

Still, Moore is a relative newcomer in an increasingly populated field of artists and knows that longevity really lies with the fans.

"If you can build a true, solid fan base, you have a chance," Moore says.

He isn't exactly sure what combination of things it takes to get there, and he hopes to glean some insight from McGraw.

"I am eager to learn something from this tour," he says.

McGraw was one of the guys — along with Johnny Cash — that got Moore into country music. Before that, he listened to rock bands like Bob Seger and Bruce Springsteen because they were his father's favorites.

"I'm always trying to find out what made me fall in love with an artist," Moore says.

It's the thing he thinks about most when listening to the bands that influenced him. McGraw has a way of working a song's melody, of using the phrasing of the lyrics to pull an emotional response from the listener. He makes you believe the words.

"He's a master at that," Moore says.

That kind of honesty is something Moore looks to in his own work, and it is evident on the new album.

"This new record is 100% vulnerability, just lying myself out on the table," he says.

"Dirt Road," for example, tells the story of teenage rebellion, of wrapping your head around the hell-fire and damnation talk that is so often part of growing up in a Southern, Baptist town. While Moore stops short of calling the song autobiographical, his mother played organ in a Baptist church and he truly understands the sentiment.

"It's about the rebellious spark you feel as a kid," he says.


Tim McGraw's "Sundown Heaven Town" tour, with Kip Moore and Cassadee Pope, 7 p.m. Thursday, May 8, at the Save Mart Center. Tickets: $39.50-$72.50. Details: (559) 745- 3000,


The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6479, or @joshuatehee on Twitter and Instagram. Read his blog at

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