Over the years, Kip Moore has molded his music to reflect his raw emotions and the state of his life at the time. With his new and fifth studio album, Damn Love, the superstar found himself to be more present than he’s ever been in his career as he tackles the different layers of love.
Out now, the fresh project features 13 tracks that were co-produced by Moore with Jaren Johnston (The Cadillac Three). The singer/songwriter served as a co-writer on every song except one, the title track. Penned by Johnson, James McNair and Jason Gantt, “Damn Love” kicks things off with a fusion of soul-stirring rock and Moore’s distinct heart for country music as he illustrates the power love can hold over a person.
“Sonically, I loved it right away. There were a few changes that we wanted to make, but it had an edge to it right away that fit in,” Moore recently told Country Now and other outlets. “Once I saw the title ‘Damn Love,’ I said, man, this encompasses everything. ‘Damn,’ that word is a complex word and that’s what the song’s about and that’s what so much of the theme of this record is about. So, it was just a perfect climate.”
When “Damn Love” came to Moore, he revealed he had already started to develop the theme around the emotion itself, and this song turned out to be the piece of the puzzle that would ultimately make the collection feel complete.
“That embodied everything because of the complexities of that word,” he began. “And there’s a frustration with that word and trying to figure out the way you see it. Once again, I go back to how to give it, how to receive it, you know, once we get past a certain age, it’s like we lose our innocence little by little. These things chip away at us, and then we start getting more and more guarded and all these things. And that word gets a lot more difficult to accept. I mean, early in life, you just go in headfirst with anything, and you’re fearless. Then you get a few battle scars on you, and you get that feeling of heartache and those things, and it’s a lot harder to be accepting of the word. So I think that’s why I felt like it was a perfect title track for the record.”
Taking a different approach to writing this album, Moore explained that instead of moving through the process at different segments at a time, he saw several songs like “Micky’s Bar” and “Another Night In Knoxville” as an entire composition at once.
“I wrote ‘Knoxville’ much like I wrote most of this record, which was different than the ways I’ve written songs in the past. Normally, I write in fragments, like most writers. I’ll pick up a guitar, you know, noodle around the piano and I play a riff and I kind of see what that feels like to me. Then I’ll just kind of start humming around it, lyrics fall out, fragmented lyrics, then you’re trying to hold on, you’re writing little pieces down and you write backwards or frontwards or whatever. But this record, in songs like ‘Knoxville,’ ‘Micky’s Bar,’ so many of these came to me as one complete canvas, which doesn’t usually happen that way.”
He continued, “I’m hearing all these parts and all the counter melodies happening, and the whole lyric is right there too. So I’m trying to sing it into my phone as fast as I can before it turns the vapor. I wrote this record like that with no instrument in hand, and then I would go back and try to learn the parts.”
Among the featured tracks is the previously released “Damn Love” and “Kinda Bar,” along with brand-new tunes such as “Neon Blue,” “The Guitar Slinger,” “Heart On Fire,” “Silver And Gold,” “Peace & Love,” “Sometimes She Stays,” “Some Things,” “Mr. Simple” and “One Heartbeat.”
The Georgia native once again found himself stepping outside of his usual creative process for “One Heartbeat.” Not only is this track the only solo write, but it’s also the only song on the album with a featured guest. Moore isn’t typically one to write with another artist in mind but this time, he found himself inspired by one of his favorite artists, Ashley McBryde, who ended up joining him on the song.
“I’ve never written a song with a thought of someone else singing with me…I’ve just never felt like doing a duet cause it’s just not the way I write. But that song, when I finished writing the first course, it just lent itself to that right away. I already had this idea for the second verse and I was like, ‘man, how awesome would it be if I could get Ashley to sing this with me?’ I said that to myself. I didn’t say it to anybody else. Fast forward a few months later, we’re in Alaska together backstage in this little trailer, and we’re just kind of swapping stories and songs and she says, ‘play me something that you really love that you’ve written recently,’ and I played ‘One Heartbeat.’”
To no surprise, McBryde quickly fell for the honest lyrics and addicting melody.
“I got done with the first chorus, and she grabbed the headstock of the guitar and said, ‘I absolutely love this, can I sing on this with you?’ And I said, ‘well, I wrote it for you, actually.’ So that’s an amazing way that all came together.”
As a whole, this project takes listeners on a unique journey, almost as if they are watching characters in a film experience the stages of love, heartbreak, and internal battles that often come with the weight of these emotions. Since everyone has different experiences when it comes to love, this emotive set of music allows each listener to take away something different from the cinematic story that unfolds in this album.
“All I ever hope with any record that I make is that I do make you feel something. That I do make you feel something internally. That I do strike some kind of emotional chord with you,” Moore shared honestly. “Cause I believe when you do that, even when someone’s grieving and you write something that makes them grieve even more, I think that’s all a part of the cathartic process where you have to get those things out.”
“I just hope that I strike a chord with people, and I helped you tap into whatever it is you got buried, whatever it is you’re trying to release, whether it’s happiness, sadness, whatever that is,” the singer continued. “I just never want to be one of those artists that you turn on the record and it’s just fodder. It’s just music. It’s not something that’s making you feel one way or the other. I’m okay if you hate me, as long as you got a strong emotion about what you’re hearing, and it’s not just background noise, we’re good.”
In a way, this project marks the start of a reinvented chapter for Moore. At the start of his career, he recalls feeling exhausted from the stresses of trying to stay afloat and balance his sense of peace with the constant flow of a music career and the fear of losing it at any moment. Now, he has taken a step back to rediscover that peace within himself.
“I think that I was never present because of that fear and fear can be crippling. I think that I’ve learned how to be very present and I’m enjoying music more than I ever have, and playing the shows has brought so much happiness.”
Kip Moore is currently on the road celebrating the new album on his DAMN LOVE WORLD TOUR. He recently took his set to sold-out shows in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and next up, he will continue with headlining shows in Germany, the Netherlands and the U.K.
The Cadlillac Three are slated to join him as special guests on the U.S run which kicks off in Saginaw, MI on Aug. 24th.