Named “New Artist of the Year” five years ago by the Academy of Country Music, Georgia-born singer-songwriter Kip Moore has been busy ever since.
Now, at 37, he has toured the world and recorded two top-selling albums, with a new one due out in August. Moore makes his first appearance, backed by his band, Wednesday, April 26, at Santa Rosa’s Luther Burbank Center for the Arts.
Moore is a genuine country boy. But musically, he’s compared to Bruce Springsteen as often he is to Merle Haggard.
While Moore’s music video output is prolific, including hits like last year’s “I’m to Blame” and this year’s “Running for You,” he said he doesn’t think in terms of marketing or target audiences. His focus is on his songwriting.
When he’s not touring — he played 150 dates last year — Moore lives in Nashville. Speaking by phone from his home there, Moore took time recently to talk about his music and his future.
Q: What are you working on while you’re between tour dates?
A: I’m at home shooting music videos for my new record.
Q: You have a polished approach to your storytelling in those videos. Is that something you had to learn along the way? A: I’ve always been a fan of film. I’ve always studied the acting and the cinematography in movies. I’ve just had a yearning to make great videos, so I try to take a cinematic approach to ‘em. I think the videos I’m making this new record are by far the best ones I’ve made yet. People will get to see those this summer.
Q: Even though you’re young, you’ve had a long career, starting when you were still in community college in Alabama.
A: I’ve been at it a long time. I would say that my career took off about five years ago, and ever since then, it’s been a whirlwind. I’d been trying for many years before it took off.
Q: Your songs often have strong rock beat. Do you find that the instrumental music on country records now sounds like rock music from a generation or two ago?
A: I think country music has taken up that space in the format. I know a lot of people have talked about our shows bein’ like an old-school American rock ‘n’ roll shows. It feels like heartland rock at times. I think guys like Bob Seger, if they were around today, they’d be in the country format. It’s gotten where you’re not hearing that old American rock ‘n’ roll thing as much on mainstream radio anymore. It has kind of filtered into country music sometimes. Not all the time, but sometimes. You listen to (country singer Chris) Stapleton’s “Parachute,” and that’s an old-style American heartland rock ‘n’ roll song.
Q: And yet the country music lyrics stay true to tradition, with the storytelling, don’t they?
A: Yes, and that’s what Bob Seger’s songs did. They told stories, like “Against the Wind” and “Night Moves.”
Q: Country music now is more sophisticated, but aren’t the songs still about romance, family, patriotism and hometown values?
A: Yeah, and I don’t think that’s ever gonna leave. That’s a staple in the genre.