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After the Sunburn with Kip Moore

Photo by PJ Brown

On October 4th, musician Kip Moore will bring Nashville to Scheels Arena. Moore’s “After The Sunburn Tour” includes Fargo as its fifth stop and promises a night of southern-fueled hits, accompanied by Jordan Davis and Jillian Jacqueline. Coming off the heels of presenting in August at the 2018 ACM Honors alongside country heavyweights such as Chris Stapleton, Moore starts his tour off with high energy. Hailing from Nashville, Moore is a breath of fresh air on Music Row, establishing himself by bringing about a modern touch to the historic music genre and performing as more of a Southern-rocker than a traditional country star. With him, you can expect prominent electric guitar riffs and a weathered, deep voice accompanying the more traditional country instruments.

We got to speak with Moore and ask him about experiences of being a songwriter, who he looks up to and what life is like on the road.

Have you ever been to Fargo before?

My first major tour ever, first city, first night, was in Fargo with Jewel, years ago. So Fargo will always be kinda special to me for that reason. I got to walk all over the city and I’ve been back a few times since and I love it.

I know you have a heavy hand in writing and production of your albums. What inspires you? 

I get inspired in so many different ways, it’s hard to name just one thing. I can be a pro and go in a room and write a song every day. I can force myself in there and do that and I can churn something out before the end of the day. But when I’m writing records, I usually like to kind of wait for something organically to happen, in a sense that I start going in a certain direction musically, melodically or tone-wise. When I think back on the 3 records I have made, there’s a universal thread, a topic that kinda starts to take over my life at that particular moment or how I’m feeling inside. It’s kinda the same thing with the record I’ve been making now, it’s a particular thing I’ve been feeling a while inside, and whenever that happens, I try to ride that wave and get everything out of it.

What’s a song of yours that you prize the most? What’s the most fun to perform?

I would say “Guitar Man” is probably my favorite song I’ve written on any of the records. My favorite to perform changes. But on a nightly basis, it kinda depends on what I feel like the crowd knows or what is resonating with them. The crowd dictates a lot of how I feel performing something. “That Was Us” is another one of my favorites to play because it resonates with everybody every single night, people are passionate about that song.

Who are some of your musical influences?

Bob Dylan, he was a big hero of mine and I studied his songwriting a long time. Also Springsteen, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Sam Cooke, to name a few.

Nashville is quite the tight-knit community, and often a bit of a echoing chamber at times. What’s it like being able to get out and perform and travel throughout the country? 

I don’t feel like I’ve ever been trapped in the so-called “cave” of Nashville, even with writing records, I haven’t been in the hit songwriter songwriting community. I’ve been writing these records with my close buds, some that don’t even have writer deals. So I’ve never been in a bubble like that. I do love getting out on the road and experiencing different cultures and vibes though.

I hear that you had your first performance at a Mellow Mushroom in Georgia. And while I love a good pizza, what’s it been like going from that atmosphere to playing arenas? 

There’s so many things, I don’t even know where to start. First of all, I was never playing my own songs back then. You know, when you’re playing cover tunes, you can hide behind the success of what that song has already done. There’s no vulnerability in that. I see a lot of young musicians do that and I think that’s a mistake during their set, cause you’re just hiding behind the success of what someone else has done. I don’t see nothing wrong with playing one or two in your set, but putting together a whole night full of that and only a few originals, when you’re trying to be an original artist just doesn’t work. As a disclaimer, it’s different if that’s what you’re doing, playing cover tunes as an artist, but if you’re trying to be an original artist and you’re playing lots of cover tunes, there’s not a lot of vulnerability in that. That’s the biggest difference for me though, is that I didn’t feel that way back then like I do now. You’re exposing yourself when you’re playing your own music that you wrote.

So what advice do you have for future musicians wanting to make it in the music industry?

Try and find your own lane and stay true to what’s inside of you. The minute you start to chase something, that train’s already gone and it’s gonna be tired as hell by the time you actually get to it. You might have some success with it, but you haven’t built something that is in your own lane and something that’s actually authentic, so it’ll be fleeting.

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What’s it been like rising to the ranks in such a seemingly short period of time?

It’s been whirlwind. As far as my life, I’ve been on the road over 200 days a year, so everything feels like such a blur. My family and friends have started settling down and having family and you miss out on a lot of those things [when on the road]. But there’s a beauty to it, you get the see the whole world. I’ve been so many places and I feel super blessed that I’ve gotten the chance to be one of the few people that seeks out to find their dream and actually gets to grab a hold of it. Gratitude is what I’ve felt over the past few years.

Where did your passion for music come from, and how has it morphed over the years?

I think my passion for music came from my dad, originally. I looked up to him so much and he was such a fanatic for music, always playing records like Bob Seger, Sam Cooke and The Temptations in the house, so early on I was turned on to [music], and luckily I had a dad with good taste. Back then, you listen to the songs and the melodies and to what makes you feel good, but now with those same songs, now that you’ve lived a lot of life, you understand what they’re talking about in these songs, so it takes on a new appreciation. Now when you’re crafting music, it’s about trying to make people feel the same thing that those records made you feel.

What’s next for you? 

We are hoping to put a special project out, hopefully really soon, that we’ve been working on and that the fans have been asking for for a while. I’ll also be working on another full record come late fall and I’ll be trying to put that out early next year.

Purchase tickets at scheelsarena.com

Scheels Arena

October 4 at 7:30 p.m.

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Alexandra Martin

Written by Alexandra Martin

Alexandra Martin is the editor of Fargo Monthly. She hails from Huntsville, Alabama, but graduated from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri with a degree in Fashion Communications. When she's not in the office, she is busy taking care of her small zoo of pets, cooking up vegetables, or listening to true-crime podcasts.

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