Back in June, the announcement of a forthcoming new Kip Moore album had us, along with his passionate fan base excited. Now that we’ve had a week to digest Slowheart, we are not disappointed. Moore continues to break the confines of Nashville’s pop-country trend with his highly anticipated third studio album. He co-wrote 11 of 13 tracks (this marks the first time he’s cut a song he didn’t have a hand in writing) and co-produced the project.
Last fall, Moore announced that he would be taking a hiatus from the nearly constant touring schedule he and his band, The Slow Hearts, had been enduring. He dropped off the grid for a few months and used the time to travel and refocus. Upon his return, he released “More Girls Like You,” which has become his fastest rising single to climb country charts.
Slowheart has a different feel to it than his two previous full length albums, Up All Night (2012) and Wild Ones (2015). With it comes a more content and uninhibited Kip Moore – the tracks on the project show us a more mature artist who is settling into his own skin and seems to truly enjoy his particular path. The title of the album, as well as the name of his band, comes from his good friend and former guitarist, Dave Lapsley. Moore explains to CMT.com: “He told me that I had a slow heart years ago,” Moore recalled “He said, ‘It takes you a while to show your cards — to show your heart. You evaluate yourself before you make decisions, and you keep your feelings close to you.’ He named me that, and then I named the band that. I just felt like the journey was such a slow, organic process to making this record that it just all made sense. It was all cohesive with the travels, with the pictures, with the making of the record. It was just time to call the record Slowheart.”
“Plead the Fifth” is the lead track on the album and sets the stage for the intensity that follows. It’s full of heavy, deep-rooted passion – the story of keeping your cards close to your chest. He’s not going come out and let her know how he’s feeling, he’s pleading the fifth. Writer Luke Dick explains the story behind the song and why he felt it fit Moore: “‘Plead the Fifth’ was something Josh Kear and I came up with. I had this new wave-ish riff I thought would be interesting in a country context. Josh had the title as a sort of double-entendre, where a guy takes a drink instead of answering a question. I thought it was interesting. After we finished the song, the vocal range and dynamic was pretty bombastic. I played it for Kip, because I thought it really fit his voice and vibe. He can sing those kinds of emotional anthems. He loved it and sang it like only he can.”
Key Lyrics: “Have I ever mixed your memory with Tennessee? Have I ever dialed you up and never let it ring? Do I wonder where you are with every sip, getting numb to who you might be with, drown myself in 90 proof what if’s? I plead the fifth.”
“I’ve Been Around” playfully describes the contradiction between the way Moore lives his life and the lifestyle that often comes from finding success. “LA backstage, drank a little Kool-Aid, smoked a cigarette with Slash / I flew to Rome, had coffee with the Pope, talked about Johnny Cash / I’ve hung out with supermodels, drank wine from thousand dollar bottles.” “Fast Woman” takes a reflective look at life on the road and what comes with fronting a band while friends back home are following a more traditional path: “Between the slow gin fizz and fast women, I’m stuck in a place my mama’s King James calls sinning / But it feels so good from where I’m sittin’, between the slow gin fizz and fast women, fast women / I know there’s more to life than what I see right now, one day I’ll find one to slow me down, settle me down.”
“Bittersweet Company” is a poetic, lamenting love song rooted in self reflection while “Sunburn” finds Moore reflecting on a connection so strong he can’t shake the memories (think: an evolved version of “Girl of the Summer”). “Blonde” tackles the negative aspects of social media, the way people can theoretically hide behind a screen while pretending to be something or someone they are not.
“Good Thing” and “Try Again” both have a substantial Motown sound, a genre Moore has always been a fan of and was in part raised on. Moore explains to People.com: “I was so lucky to have a dad that was as cool as he was. He was James Dean in the flesh. He was listening to Jackson Browne, the Eagles, the Little River Band, a lot of Motown, Sam Cooke – he’s my all-time favorite – Smokey Robinson, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, these people who are the great American poets to me. So that was in my bloodstream. A song like “Good Thing” on this record – it’s straight from the Motown bloodline.”
“Last Shot” is full of vivid imagery used to explain the deep level of love or affection he’s feeling in a relationship. Moore sings: “If you were my last breath, I’d just wanna hold ya / If you were my last night of hell on wheels, wanna drive ya like I stole ya / If you were my last shot, last shot of whiskey, I’d press you to my lips, take a little sip, swirl you around and around and ’round, then I’d shot you down.”
Highlights of Slowheart include the stripped down “Guitar Man,” an autobiographical track which allows the listener inside Moore’s personal journey. Lyrically detailing the hardships of being a struggling musician, working day after day for nothing but the chance to play again, the song embodies what fan’s of Moore have come to admire so much. He sings: “Off in the shadows stands a stool and a stage, many souls before me were put on display / I take one last breath, time to pay some more dues that won’t add up to nothin’ but tips and cheap booze / Yeah, the fruits of my labor is when the crowd sings along / Nothing short of a savior, still I go home alone / I’m an empty, faceless, spotlight mic stand / I’ll get ya high, I’ll get ya low, I’m a guitar man.”
“Just Another Girl” has a rocking 70s vibe to it, with Moore singing about a relationship that ended up different from what it seemed. “I thought man, she paints a pretty picture, but damn those colors sure do run / When it came to love, I thought we had enough, then again what do I know / I’m just another boy, in another band, you’re just another girl I put in a song.”
“The Bull” which was written by Luke Dick and Jon Randall, is quite literally a perfect fit for Moore. It’s an emphatic “F– you” to those who’ve tried to change him or had written him off: “Every knock down in the dirt, every no I ever heard, it’ll sure feel good to laugh when I look back and flip the bull the bird / Every nail that ripped my shirt, every no I ever heard, it’ll sure feel good to laugh when I look back and flip the bull the bird.”
“Try Again,” with its Motown vibe, is a beautiful love song about not giving up on love: “Yeah baby, I’ll try, try, try no, I won’t quit / I’ll fight, fight, fight you can count on it / To the moon and back, through the highs and lows / To win your love, girl just know I’ll try, try, try then I’ll try again.”
One thing is certain, Moore remains steadfast and dedicated to doing things his way. He continues to show his genuine gratitude for his rapidly growing and die-hard fan base. Fans who ordered an enhanced album package were treated to an exclusive viewing of the documentary “Journey to SLOWHEART,” by PJ Brown, one of Moore’s closest friends. Moore is headed back out on tour this fall for his headlining “Plead the Fifth Tour” with Drake White and Jordan Davis.
For tour dates and more information head to www.kipmoore.net
Official Track list for Slowheart
1. “Plead the Fifth” (Luke Dick, Josh Kear)
2. “Just Another Girl” (Kip Moore, Westin Davis, Ben Helson)
3. “I’ve Been Around” (Moore, Dan Couch)
4. “Fast Women” (Moore, Blair Daly, Davis, Troy Verges)
5. “Bitter Sweet Company” (Moore, Josh Miller, Verges)
6. “Sunburn” (Moore, David Garcia, Miller, Steven Olsen)
7. “More Girls Like You” (Moore, Olsen, Miller, Garcia)
8. “The Bull” (Jon Randall, Dick)
9. “Blonde” (Moore, Olsen, Miller, Garcia)
10. “Good Thing” (Moore, Miller, Verges)
11. “Last Shot” (Moore, Couch, David Lee Murphy)
12. “Try Again” (Moore, Garcia, Miller)
13. “Guitar Man” (Moore, Couch, Davis)