Country star builds on popular sound

By John Benson

Justin Moore named his new album “Off the Beaten Path,” but fans shouldn’t worry about the singer straying too far from his popular country sound. Just listen to his new album’s lead single and top-10 hit “Point At You.”

“I’m really proud of my first two albums, but I felt like they were similar,” said Moore, calling from Chicago. “It’s important to me to make a different album each time and not the same one over and over. So with this one, it was my intention to stay true to what got me here and cut music that people were accustomed to hearing from me, but also grow the music at the same time in order to grow our fan base to a level in which it hadn’t been yet.”

However, don’t mistake growth for artifice. In Moore’s mind, this would be something along the lines of him featuring a guest rapper on a track with the hope the song ends up on Top 40 radio.

Though Moore said he steadfastly eschews such cheap ploys, he doesn’t have a problem with making a special shout-out to Kim Kardashian on his new song “I’d Want It to be Yours.”

“The funny thing is, every artist has a song where they never anticipated it ending up on an album,” Moore said. “I fully expected women to hate it or call me a pervert, but they’re the ones who actually like it, including my wife. So go figure.”

When pressed on why he felt a need to give the paparrazi queen any more attention, Moore said, laughing, “Have you seen her butt? That’s exactly why.”

Speaking of national attention, it wasn’t too long ago that Moore was on the outside looking in at the Music City industry. That all changed with his 2009 self-titled debut that scored three smash singles, including the No. 1 “Small Town USA,” as well as “Backwoods” and “How I Got to be This Way.”

Proving he wasn’t a one-album wonder, Moore kept the momentum going with his 2011 effort “Outlaws Like Me,” which went No. 1 the week it was released. The album featured chart-topping tunes “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” and “Til My Last Day.”

Today, Moore appears to be on the cusp of something big with his major headlining tour, which comes to Covelli Centre on Saturday.

“The career feels different right now than it ever has, and I don’t know how to explain that,” Moore said. “There’s just a new energy about our career. I think part of it is the fact we went out headlining the first of the year; we kind of tested the waters, and that really exceeded our expectations, which allowed us to put this upcoming tour together with more production and bigger arenas. It feels like we have an opportunity; whether that comes to fruition or not has yet to be determined.”

Invariably, Moore has perched himself for something bigger with people taking notice. This includes Hollywood, which featured his music in hit show “Nashville.”

When asked if he’d appear on the soap-opera show based around the country-music business, Moore said, “I’d never say never, but it’s also not something I’m champing at the bit to do, either. I’d have to take a look at the role.”

So what if that role included being the love interest of, say, one Kim Kardashian?

Laughing, he said, “Well, I’d like to stay married, so I’d probably decline.”

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