Sound: This one is a foot-stomper. It's a good mix of honky tonk and modern country. One can hear a minor pop influence, but Moore never lets it get too far. Justin Moore is an up-and-comer with a lot to say and a damn good method of saying it. He shows similarities to Jason Aldean with arrangements that often rock harder than most other country acts. What makes him superior to Aldean is that he co-writes nearly all of his songs. Of his two studio albums, Moore has only recorded three songs that he didn't write or co-write. That's an impressive number in today's world, where it's far too easy for artists to record whatever the hell they want, regardless of the writer. This album has a few slow paced crooners, but most of these songs are faster paced with plenty of steel guitar. One way or the other, this is good country. Moore is openly proud of "Outlaws Like Me". After several listens, it's clear to me that he has reason to be. // 8
Lyrics: I really like the lyrics on this album. They're straight-forward and honest and, oftentimes, Moore showcases the ability to cleverly craft lines that flow and grab the listener. Most noticeable is the chorus to "Run Out Of Honky Tonks" where he sings "Bartender, set 'em up. Long as she's here, might as well stay drunk..." and so on. The lyrics always fit the arrangement. Awkward moments are a non-entity on this album. As far as singing goes, Moore is capable. He can sound fairly flat at times, but when he does slow down for a song, he's easily able to hit all the necessary notes. For examples, check out "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away" and "Outlaws Like Me", which are easily two of the better listens on the album. Moore might not be an excellent singer, but he can get it done, which is more than some can say. // 8
Overall Impression: This album will be playin' in my car and work truck for awhile. It's full of honest songs about real things, such as the abomination of a man in "Bait A Hook" and the right woman in "Til My Last Day". It's just real, and that's what I look for in country music. Moore doesn't really sound like most other country artists you hear on the radio these days, but that's mostly because a good 80% of what you hear on a country radio is pop. Moore is simply better than most of the competition. Is he at the same level as modern greats like Eric Church and Jamey Johnson? Not a chance. However, I'd put him in line with Josh Thompson, Brantley Gilbert, and Luke Bryan, who happen to be some of the best up-and-coming artists you'll hear right now. Moore might be on his way to greatness. We won't know for awhile. I certainly expect him to reach it. Here's a song-by-song review.
01. "Redneck Side" - This song is so damn true. A lot of us country boys have been in this situation.
02. "My Kind Of Woman" - Not a bad song, but I don't usually listen to it during short drives.
03. "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away" - The current single. It's touching and real.
04. "Run Out Of Honky Tonks" - Probably one of the best songs on the album. Great lyrics.
05. "Beer Time" - Pretty good. Not a usual listen, but I do enjoy it.
06. "Bait Hook" - One of the most honest songs on the album. Good, but not a consistent listen.
07. "Flyin' Down A Back Road" - Another highlight. This is one of my favorites and is hauntingly nostalgic.
08. "If You Don't Like My Twang" - Moore does have quite the twang, and this is his reply to his nay-sayers.
09. "Guns" - These lyrics are just as controversial as those in "God And Guns" by Skynyrd. I expect similar backlash but, like Skynyrd's tune, this is an awesome song.
10. "Sunshine Babies" - Great song with a an awesome bass-line in the verse. It's an absolute foot-stomper. This might become a staple of his live show.
11. "Til My Last Day" - Excellent song about the right woman. Great lyrics.
12. "Bed Of My Chevy" - Pretty good tune. I often skip it on short drives, though.
13. "Outlaws Like Me" - Great slower tune. Some could view it as arrogant, but Moore might end up being a modern outlaw like Jamey Johnson if he produces another very good album.
Overall, this CD deserves a solid 8. It's got plenty going on and it's very easy to listen all the way through. Pick it up. // 8