Justin Cole Moore (1984–)
Justin Moore is a popular country music singer and performer from the small town of Poyen (Grant County). In 2009, his Arkansas-inspired song “Small Town U.S.A.” became his first breakthrough hit, landing at number one that year on the country charts. His self-titled 2009 album went gold, as did its follow-up Outlaws Like Me in 2011. In 2014, Moore was named Best New Artist by the Academy of Country Music.
Justin Cole Moore was born on March 30, 1984, in Poyen to Tommy Ray Moore and Charlene Webb Moore. He has no siblings. Moore’s father worked for the local post office, and during his childhood, his parents owned a small restaurant. Moore worked most of his youth on his grandparents’ cattle farm. Moore began singing at two years old and when he was eight, he won a talent show at Poyen High School. He performed gospel songs in church while listening to country and rock music at home. Moore started playing guitar during his junior year at Poyen High. He played on the school basketball team, becoming, in 2002, a member of the Poyen AA state champion team.
Moore met his future wife, Kate, while on a senior trip in Panama City, Florida. They married in 2007 and had three daughters and a son.
Moore moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 2002 when he was eighteen. His parents supported him for five years until 2007, when he signed his first record deal (interestingly, this happened at his wedding reception). Soon after, Justin met producer Peter Hartung, who became his manager. Moore got his start opening for established acts like Luke Bryan and Hank Williams Jr.
In 2008, Moore landed a contract with Valory Music Company, part of the Big Machine Label Group in Nashville. “Back That Thing Up,” Moore’s first single, was released in 2008. In 2009, his first album, Justin Moore, was released. “Back That Thing Up” and his hit “Small Town U.S.A.” were included. The music video for the latter was filmed entirely in Poyen and featured Moore’s wife, his church, and his family farm. The song was his first number one on the country charts.
In 2010, Moore appeared in a made-for-television documentary called Justin Moore: How I Got to Be This Way for Great American Country. The show took its name from the song of the same name on his first album. It detailed his upbringing in Poyen. In 2012, Moore began playing an annual concert to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Saline County. The event, called “Justin Moore’s Night to Be Great,” features a live concert followed by a question-and-answer forum.
Moore’s third album, Off the Beaten Path, was released in 2013. His third hit single “Lettin’ the Night Roll,” came from that album. His fourth album, called Kinda Don’t Care, was released in 2016 and featured Moore’s fourth single, “You Look Like I Need A Drink.”
Moore and his family lived in Bryant (Saline County) before moving to a new home on family land in Poyen. In May 2020, he released the first episode of The Justin Moore Podcast. In December 2021, it was announced that Moore would be joining the morning drive show on radio station KABZ-FM, 103.7.
For additional information:
Hill, Jack W. “Church on a Roll with ‘Blood, Sweat and Beers.’” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, p. 4E.
Justin Moore. http://justinmooremusic.com/ (accessed December 4, 2018).
McLeod, Jerry. “High-Tech Redneck.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, June 2, 2020, pp. 1E, 6E.
Stewart, Shea. “Big Talent, Small Town.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, August 7, 2016, pp. 1E, 6E.
Widner, Ellis. “‘Small Town’ Singer Comes Home.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, pp. 1E, 3E.
Cody Lynn Berry
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