What: Hell On Wheels Tour featuring Brantley Gilbert with Kip Moore
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16
Where: UTC McKenzie Arena, Fourth and Mabel streets
Kip Moore says fans at Saturday night's Hell on Wheels show can expect "100 percent of everything I've got" in his performance.
But why would they expect anything less? Anyone who has listened to his music knows he enjoys life to the limit, and that's the pervasive attitude of his current hit, "Beer Money," and album, "Up All Night."
Moore opens for headliner Brantley Gilbert in the concert at McKenzie Arena, combining two hard-rocking South Georgians who are considered rising stars in country music.
Gilbert is a Best New Artist nominee by the Academy of Country Music. Moore was nominated in the same category by the American Country Awards last fall, losing to Rossville's Lauren Alaina.
Gilbert's high-profile career has included hits "You Don't Know Her Like I Do," "Country Must Be Countrywide" and "Kick It in the Sticks" as well as an offstage romance with TV-star-turned-country-singer Jana Kramer, to whom he recently became engaged.
Moore notched his first No. 1 with platinum-selling "Something 'Bout a Truck," and received two more ACA nominations for that song in Single by a New Artist and Music Video by a New Artist categories. He's written songs for Thompson Square and Jake Owen, and toured with Billy Currington and Eric Church. This summer he'll tour with Toby Keith.
In addition to touring, Moore has been headlining his own shows. He sold out six of the last seven. Last week, the singer sold out the 2,400-seat House of Blues in Boston in 20 minutes.
Moore says "Up All Night" reflects his belief that just because you're getting older doesn't mean you have to check out of life.
"A lot of my buddies are settling down, having families. I asked a couple of them to go do something that kinda was a no-brainer to me, and they were like, 'Nah, I'm going to sit around the house tonight.'
"I think people need to mature and grow up as they get older, but that doesn't mean you have to relinquish that youthful spirit," he says.
His own life reflects that.
When he was 21 he camped out in a hut in Hawaii, backpacking and surfing and living off canned tuna and fruit.
"I didn't know what I was going to do yet with my life, so I bought a one-way ticket and went to the Big Island. I lived in a hut that was like a 5-foot by 11-foot concrete slab with a screen around it, in the woods about two miles from the beach. We'd hike to the beach every morning and surf," he says, adding he worked at an island resort for four months, saving about $2,000, to fund that half-year camping trip.
"I always march to the beat of my own drum," he says. "I pack up and move to towns where I don't know anybody. I packed up and came to Nashville with just $700 and not even a suitcase, just a backpack and a guitar."
He jokes that he still doesn't have a permanent address, that all his clothes are stowed in the back of his truck and he might crash on the couch at the recording studio.
But he's put down roots in country music. He's working on his second album, which he expects to have out by this time next year.
In fact, don't be surprised, he says, if he tries out some of his new music on Saturday night's audience. It's a good way to gauge what his fans like.
"I'm always writing. I had 500 to 600 songs in the vault before 'Up All Night' came out. A lot of times I'll drive the band nuts because I'll write a song the day before a show and say, 'We're playing this tomorrow night.' They've learned to roll with it."
Contact staff writer Susan Pierce at spierce@timesfree press.com or 423-7457-6284.
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...