Justin Moore
 Kristin Barlowe

The "Point At You" country star is looking to take the next step on upcoming album, "Off the Beaten Path"

Justin Moore has big hopes for his latest project, "Off The Beaten Path," which will be released by The Valory Music Co. on Sept. 17. In an exclusive interview, Moore told Billboard that he's excited to be giving fans a lot more for their money -- both in quantity, as well as musically.

"We had sixteen songs on the album, so it allowed us the space to do some different things that he hadn't done in the past," he said. "We cut the album at a different studio, and it kind of brought a new energy. There's some musicians on this album who didn't play on my first two albums – including one of my guitar players on the road. I wrote with the same people that I've always had, but I wrote with some additional guys, as well. I think all of those things combined pumped new energy into the project."

Moore hopes that "Off The Beaten Path" will take him to new career heights as well. "There's a lot of material on this album that my fans are accustomed to hearing from me, but it was my goal to grow my fan base to a level where it hasn't been yet. We've had a lot of success," he admits, with both his prior albums being certified Gold. "I'm happy with how far we've come, but it's my goal to compete with Luke, Jason, and all those guys. I don't want to be the guy who's just below them anymore. I want to take it to the next step."

The disc's first single, "Point At You," has performed well for Moore, sitting at No. 6 on the Country Airplay chart. The new album offers a variety of emotions, with one song that the Arkansas native says has already made an impact with his fan base is the irreverent "I'd Want It To Be Yours," though he admits there is one fan that might not be too excited about the song.

"My mother just has to be going with every album 'Oh, no, he didn't say that again, did he," he says with a hearty laugh. "We had a song called 'I Could Kick Your Ass' on the first album, and we haven't done one like that since then. People crack up when I say the song was a blessing in our career. It's funny to hear, but it's true. That's one of the reasons we're selling out arenas and not playing clubs anymore is because of songs like that. People can grab hold of then because it's real life stuff – whether it's comical, sad, or whatever. I thought ‘Let's go write another one of those' because we haven't done that since then. I took it into my record label, and they fell in love with it, and said ‘You have to cut this.' I've been playing it on the road for about a month, and people love it," he says. Everyone, that is.... except his mother, he jokes. "Every time I bring something like that home, she threatens to change churches. She ain't done it yet."

The album also contains some impressive ballads, such as "Old Habits," which features Miranda Lambert. Moore talks about the pairing here.

Moore said that even though the album has 16 cuts, he still regrets turning some of the songs that didn't make the project loose. "It's really difficult for me to let them go. There's a couple of songs that I passed on that people have already cut. I'm going ‘Man, should I have cut that song," he says, admitting that he feels that way regardless of whether his name is on the writers' credit or not. "You fall in love with a lot of songs, whether you write them or not. There's songs I wrote ten or twelve years ago that I still want to put on an album. They just haven't fit any of the projects I've done. It's like putting a puzzle together – everything has to have continuity."

Though Moore has one of the top A&R departments in Nashville at Valory – as well as an astute judge of material in label head Scott Borchetta, he admits there's another person in his camp who has a knack for picking hit songs, as he told us.

Moore will kick off his first headlining tour November 1 in Springfield, MO. Opening up for Moore will be Randy Houser and Josh Thompson. He can't wait to play the new music, and see how the fans respond. 

"It's been a couple of years now. Anytime you get to go in and make an album, it's fun and it's stressful. It's nerve wracking and all of the above. I'm really proud of it, and I'm excited for the fans to get to hear some new music."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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