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Kip Moore New Song Tennessee Boy Listen
Across three lively LPs, Kip Moore has earned his reputation as a tender-hearted country drifter and deft lyricist, capable of turning even the most ordinary of occurrences into ruminative art. His excellent 2017 collection Slowheart offered weighty takes on settling down (“More Girls Like You”), love lost (“Bittersweet Company”), and the unrelenting pull of a life on the road (“Fast Women,” “Guitar Man”). And the compelling preoccupation continues this fall on his November 16-slated acoustic EP, Room to Spare: The Acoustic Sessions.
For the stripped-down, seven-song set, Moore culled his songbook for fan favorites and lauded live show treats, some of which were penned almost a decade ago—and today, Esquire.com is thrilled to premiere the set’s feel-good anthem “Tennessee Boy.”
“I was telling [songwriter Dan Couch] a story about laying on the hood of a girl named Gretchen’s Honda Accord out in the woods in South Georgia,” Moore recalls of penning the tune with his frequent cohort on his tour bus one night. (Couch is credited on three cuts on both Slowheart and Moore’s 2015 barnburner Wild Ones.) “We were listening to Van Morrison’s ‘Moondance’ and we were wine-drunk and started dancing all around. That was my introduction to that carefree-love feeling.”
They were searching for fare to fit a woodsy riff Moore found himself strumming. “When I [first] played that, it immediately made my soul feel good,” he says. “I knew the lyric and melody had to match what the guitar was doing.”
They landed on an ode to sipping ‘shine, toking up, “a few good friends and a real good honey.” “It felt nostalgic immediately,” says Moore. “It took me back to growing up. I was like, that’s what we have to capture.”
courtesy of Kip Moore
Elsewhere on Room, he reinterprets his Slowheart-opener and set list mainstay “Plead the Fifth,” spools the “to the moon and back” love idiom into a sweet vignette about an astronaut’s travels (“To The Moon”) and warns an old flame of her sure, soon-to-come wave of regret (“Wish It Was Me”).
By cutting the slow-burning “Come Home With You,” he pays tribute to his father, who passed away in 2009. “That was always his favorite song,” says Moore of the cut that he wrote 10 years ago, “and I told him that one day I was going to record it. I finally got it on there.” And on “It Ain’t California,” a filigree slice of Yoakam-esque, California-country which Moore co-wrote with Charlie Worsham, he honors Tom Petty. “Me and Mary Jane, yeah we shed some tears,” he laments. “We’re both free falling without you here.”
“Our souls function in the same way,” Moore says, considering his friendship with Worsham, who he’ll bring on tour later this year. “Charlie is very moved by the small things in this world, which I am too. And I think he appreciates being around me because we both care about what we do. It’s not about going out and looking cool or making a dollar or whatever. We want to be great at what we do.”
Moore launches a short acoustic tour beginning November 29 in Milwaukee, shortly after his in-progress After The Sunburn Tour. All dates are listed on the singer’s website.