The debut album from Kip Moore contains most of the hallmarks of country music: pretty women, weekend getaways, pickup trucks, beer and broken hearts. Toss in some faith and steel guitar and this Georgia native’s record has all the ingredients of another generic blockbuster. What sets Up All Night apart from so many of Moore’s peers is the conviction of the singer’s delivery and his commitment to make great music rather than cash in on a trend. Moore lists Jackson Browne, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen among his influences and like those music greats he can sing about the pain and melancholy of first love (“Drive Me Crazy”) or the joy and camaraderie of going out for a night on the town (“Beer Money”) with equal aplomb. Even a song like his hit single, “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck” (which may be the most inane song I’ve heard since the Boss’ “I’m Goin’ Down”) has a cleverness to it that raises it slightly above the latest Chevy jingle.
Moore’s music pulls from those rock influences of his youth (especially Springsteen) and molds it with some of the finer country rock stylings you hear from artists such as Sugarland, Eric Church and Keith Urban. Other highlights from Up All Night include “Everything But You,” which reflects on the urge to settle down and share your life with the woman you love, “Crazy One More Time,” a quasi sequel to “Drive Me Crazy,” in which the old flame returns to town, “Where You Are Tonight,” a ballad about the emptiness of a hard life and missing the one you love to help old wounds heal, and the title track, a mixture of chiming guitars coupled with Moore’s pained vocals, pleading for the woman he wants to stay over for the night.
Taken out of context, Moore’s lyrics could sound like he’s writing slow jams for Usher. However, like the artists he’s emulating, sex, partying and cruising the hometown streets on a Saturday night sound romantic. Overall, Up All night is a promising debut. The next step is for Moore and his co-writers to dig a little deeper with his lyrics and look outside the typical country topics. Eric Church did this on Chief, one of 2011′s best albums, country or otherwise. From the sound of things, Moore has the makeup to branch out and become that kind of an artist. I’m not saying that every song has to be about the plight of the common man. Hell, even Springsteen still writes bar songs (see “You Got It” from Wrecking Ball), but if Moore starts mixing it up, someday his name could be mentioned in the same breath as those influential artists he listened to as a kid.
Moore’s video for the song “Hey Pretty Girl”