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Justin Moore

Outlaws Like Me – 2011 (Big Machine)

Reviewed by Dustin Blumhagen

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CDs by Justin Moore

Justin Moore's sophomore release sounds like the product of a marketing campaign aimed at good ol' country boys who like to drink, drive pickups and party with scantily clad country girls. The recent success of similar artists like Eric Church and Josh Thompson shows that there is a market for Nashville country that is decidedly less pop focused than many recent artists.

The album feels too cliché to ring true. The problem begins on the first song, Redneck Side, an upbeat white trash pride sing along. Lyrics don't feel genuine. These songs could have been sung by any Southern city boy with a little twang in their voice. Debut single If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away was released a few years ago by genuine redneck Rhett Akins, who performed a much more heartfelt version.

While he doesn't spend as much time letting the world know how much he loves Hank Jr. here as he did with Hank It on his debut, his influence is still felt. Guns may be the corniest song ever recorded, but NRA enthusiasts will rally around the message. If You Don't Like My Twang is a Bocephus styled kiss off song directed at those who don't approve of his music. Like Hank, Moore seems to enjoy getting drunk in the country, a topic that comes up multiple times, including the fast paced Beer Time.

The title track shines light on the reason that the album is a failure. The piano ballad is built around the line "God bless outlaws like me." It is the album's sole shining point, which in the day of MP3s is not reason enough to buy the entire album. This is middle of the road, radio friendly country music designed to sell lots of albums. True modern day outlaws like Hank 3 are stretching musical boundaries and taking their lyrics to extremes. Sitting on the tailgate drinking beer with your buddies is about as normal as small town America gets. Justin Moore is making mediocre music for the masses.