Justin Moore surprised fans with the announcement that his next album, Stray Dog, will drop on May 5 via The Valory Music Co. To celebrate, he gave fans the first taste of the new collection with the release of the title track.
Written by Moore alongside Jeremy Stover, Paul DiGiovanni, and Randy Montana, “Stray Dog” encompasses the country star’s straightforward feelings when it comes to being the person he wants to be, and blocking out anyone who tries to tell him to do things differently. He delivers a refreshing sense of freedom with his classic country twang and spiritual melody as he breaks through the metaphorical chain that tries to hold him back.
He Embraces Being An Outsider
“A long time ago I decided I wasn’t going to play games or pursue things that didn’t make me happy, perhaps that’s made me a bit of an outsider in this industry, but it’s also what allows me to go to bed each night feeling good about what I’m doing. I’ve never just gone along with the crowd. I’ve always tried to follow my heart and let the chips fall where they may, and I’m really proud of that,” he wrote in his caption on social media.
“I’m excited to announce that my upcoming album, Stray Dog, embodies that same mantra. Available May 5th, with the title track Stray Dogs available now. It’s a really personal, autobiographical song that gives an insight into myself and the project as a whole. Hope y’all enjoy it as much as I do!”
A Risky Move Pays Off
A prime example of sticking to his gut comes from the decision he made to pack up and move back to Arkansas 12 years ago. This was a risky move at the time, as Moore was advised not to move in fear that it would jeopardize his singing career.
“Me moving back to Arkansas 12 years ago was not a popular thing, I don’t necessarily play the game the same way everyone else plays it. I’ve always tried to be really honest with my fans which has not always been popular in certain areas. I’ve got to be able to go to bed at night and be proud of myself and my career. I’m a bit of an outcast. I thought that was a great metaphor – a stray dog. My producer had the idea for the song and I loved it. I hope it’s not too personal. I think once they read what I just said, they’ll totally understand,” he explained.
Moore even shared how he was shut down when opening up the discussion of moving with his label president and Executive Producer Scott Borchetta.
“He said, ‘Don’t do that.’ My wife and I had just had our first daughter, and my manager goes, ‘You’re a grown man. Do whatever you want to do.’ So I did.”
“Fast forward a couple of years, we’d been having success and we’re probably on album 2 or 3, and Scott calls. We’re talking about whatever, and he goes, ‘How long have you been living in Arkansas?’ I said, ‘2-3 years.’ He said ‘Really?’ I said, ‘I told you I could do my job from anywhere.’ He said, ‘I guess you’re right.’”
The title of the “Stray Dog” is a clever take on what it feels like to stick out from the crowd in a way that can sometimes feel as though you’re being looked down on for not following the same path. However, for Moore, this ended up being the best option for him and his family. It also gave him the chance to prove that his incredible talent can reach fans, no matter where he places his roots.
As he concluded his statement, Moore said, “I didn’t play the game to achieve things that weren’t going to make me happy. As much as I love and respect music and appreciate the opportunities that I had at the time, music’s about 3rd for me on the priority list. I’ve been honest with fans about that. God’s at the top of the list, then my wife and kids, and then music. I’ll take care of one and then two, and then I’ll take care of three. ‘Stray Dog’ as a title encapsulates all of those things.”
An Autobiographical Tune
Along with the new tune, Moore also unveiled an accompanying visualizer that finds the country star throwing his feet up on the desk and relaxing into the chair knowing he doesn’t have to worry about the opinions of others tearing him down.
“I’m a little more Stray Dog / A little found / a little lost cause / My wins have been hard-fought / I don’t bark / I just bite / Put my money on the dark horse / Put my faith in the good Lord / Pray to him I get one more day / when I lay my head down at night,” he sings in the chorus.
Over the years, Moore has developed a wildly successful career with 11 No. 1 hits, continuous arena touring with sellouts and at-capacity shows, as well as the radio and podcasting gigs he’s added on top of making music. In addition to being a musician, he still finds the time to be a full-time dad to his four kids, a softball coach and show his support to his wife who runs a small boutique business.
“Early in my career, I tried to people-please and do things so that I could achieve x, y and z. Fortunately for me, I decided, ‘You know what? You’re never going to be happy doing that. You’ve got to be yourself and let the chips fall where they may. You’ve got to do you,’” he declared in realization. “And so I did. During the ‘bro country’ era, all that stuff was blowing up, but that’s not what I do, even if it grew our format. I wasn’t comfortable doing it, and somehow, we kept the boat afloat during those years doing it our way. I don’t know how other than the fans, radio and the label sticking with me.’
Justin Moore is currently in the midst of The You, Me, & Whiskey Tour with duet partner, Priscilla Block. In support of their collaborative song, the trek launched on February 2 in Rapid City, SD and will conclude on April 22 in Coralville, IA.
Stray Dog Track List:
“Everybody Get Along” (with Riley Green) | Justin Moore, David Lee Murphy, Jeremy Stover
“That Wasn’t Jack” | Justin Moore, David Lee Murphy, Chris Stevens, Jeremy Stover
“With A Woman You Love” | Justin Moore, Paul DiGiovanni, Chase McGill, Jeremy Stover
“Better Slow” | Justin Moore, Paul DiGiovanni, Randy Montana, Jeremy Stover
“Stray Dogs’ | Justin Moore, Paul DiGiovanni, Randy Montana, Jeremy Stover
“Country On It” | Justin Moore, Casey Beathard, Paul DiGiovanni, Jeremy Stover
“You, Me, And Whiskey” (with Priscilla Block) | Jessi Alexander, Brock Berryhill, Cole Taylor
“Get Rich Or Drunk Trying” | Justin Moore, Casey Beathard, Paul DiGiovanni, Jeremy Stover