Success foils hermit's ways

Kip Moore  (Special to the Commercial Appeal)

Kip Moore (Special to the Commercial Appeal)

Kip Moore with Joey Hyde

8 p.m. Thursday, Minglewood Hall, 1555 Madison Ave.

Tickets: $16 in advance, $20 day of show. Available online at or 901-312-6058.

In some ways Kip Moore is an unlikely candidate for country music stardom.

“I’m kind of a loner by nature,” says the 32-year-old Georgia native. “I choose to be by myself a lot. I’m always choosing isolation, but then it’s like you have that feeling of needing that sense of community around you, needing that sense of being back around your band and around people. And the minute I get back around those people I’m ready to be by myself again.”

Moore hasn’t had much of a chance to be by himself since busting out on the scene in 2011 with his first No. 1 song, “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck.” He followed that at up in April of last year with his debut record on MCA Nashville, Up All Night, which spawned a Top 10 song in “Beer Money.” The album’s third single, “Hey Pretty Girl,” released in January, is the fastest rising of Moore’s admittedly young career, cracking the Top 30 in four weeks.

Nowadays Moore, who performs Thursday at Memphis’ Minglewood Hall with supporting act Joey Hyde, finds himself surrounded by people almost nightly. He’s sold out eight concerts this year, including a Boston date that did so in just 20 minutes. Last week he played the influential Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, and later this summer he hits the road with Toby Keith. He even made a recent appearance on the hit ABC drama “Nashville.”

“It was a little unusual for me,” says Moore, who, ironically, played himself in a party scene that also featured Vince Gill, Pam Tillis and The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach. “I probably didn’t pull off a DeNiro-esque performance, but it was fun.”

Moore grew up in Tifton, Ga., near the Florida line, the kind of sleepy, quiet town where one of the main preoccupations is dreaming of getting out. For Moore, that chance came not through music but through a basketball scholarship to Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Ala. While there, he picked up his dorm roommate’s guitar and started picking out songs, starting with “great American songwriters” like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, Jackson Browne, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson that he had grown up listening to from his father.

Moore played in bar bands all through college, but it was not until after graduation that the idea of playing music for a living became a serious thought. He had moved to Hawaii and was living in isolation in a tent in the woods with little more than his guitar. “I kind of came to the realization that I was the kind of person that wasn’t going to be happy unless I was doing music.”

Returning home, Moore spent four years honing his craft in Music City before landing his first publishing deal. It would be another four years, however, before Moore got his own recording contract.

A sense of fighting against fate permeates Moore’s music, which moved one critic to call him a “hillbilly Springsteen.”

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