When it comes to country artists that really stand out from the pack, it’s impossible to ignore one of our favorites, Steve Moakler.
We recently had the chance to chat with Steve about his new album, his song “Chesney,” his unique tour, and becoming a dad. Get to know more about Steve below!
NG: You recently released you album, Born Ready. For those who haven’t listened yet, how would you describe the album?
SM: I’d describe it as a road trip companion… it was inspired by the last couple years I spent touring more than I ever had. Some of the songs are literally inspired by life on the highway, and others are about the thoughts and feelings that keep you company along the way.
NG: Can you describe the creative process for making Born Ready after the success of your last album, Steel Town?
SM: It has a lot of the same ingredients. I love what we tapped into on Steel Town, so I wasn’t looking to make a major departure from it, I just wanted to push the boundaries of it out a little further. I’m always trying to make a complete record that you want to listen to start to finish, where each song holds it’s own unique place, and I feel like we did that again on this one.
NG: Did you feel more pressure going into making the new album?
SM: I wouldn’t say that I felt more pressure; I probably felt the same amount of pressure that I always do when making a record. I try to ask myself if I’d want to play each song every night for the next 10 years, and kinda use that as a gauge as to how we’re doing.
NG: Can you point to one song as your favorite?
SM: I’ve gone back and forth, but “Thirty” is probably my favorite.
5. You’ve been working at music for over ten years, but it hasn’t been an overnight success story. Do you feel like you’ve “made it” yet, and if not, what would that take?
SM: That’s a great question… it honestly depends on the day. On a good day, I do feel like I’ve made it. Of course, there are always more accolades, accomplishments, and milestones to achieve, and from a “mainstream/commercial” standpoint, I have hardly scratched the surface. But, I get to make music that I’m proud of for a living, and that was always my dream. I have an incredible audience that has stuck with me and grown over the years, and I really feel like we understand and appreciate each other. As long as that’s fully intact, I’ll consider my career to be a success.
NG: You have a song on the new album called “Chesney.” Has Kenny Chesney heard it?
SM: I’m not sure! I hope so – haven’t gotten confirmation on that. It is currently playing on his “No Shoes Radio” SiriusXM station, which has been pretty awesome. I’m a big fan… obviously.
NG: This fall, you’re heading out on another Hometowns and Campgrounds Tour – what makes that kind of tour so special?
SM: To me, it’s the deep connection with people. I love playing big venues and festivals; there is definitely a magic that comes with playing to a big crowd. There is this unifying energy that reaches far and wide. The magic of the Hometowns Tour is a completely different thing – it’s intimate, deep, and personal. I don’t pull away from the show thinking “man, Denver was awesome tonight”…. it’s more like “wow, Dave and Liz were really cool people. They have an awesome group of friends, and their neighbor Rick sure knows how to smoke ribs.” It’s really fun. I get to learn more about who is listening, and why.
NG: How do you choose the stops?
SM: It’s a mix of things, but everybody who enters really does have a shot! Our main goal is to have an efficient route that allows us to reach as many people as possible.
NG: You recently announced that you have a baby on the way. What are you most excited about when it comes to fatherhood?
SM: Man, there’s a lot of things! People say that your capacity to love grows in a way that you never thought possible. I think I’m most excited to experience that.
NG: You’re definitely different (in a good way) than a lot of the artists in Nashville right now. How do you continue to stand out and not cave into the trends?
SM: I’ve never been super into trendy things or anything modern. Whether it’s clothes, music, furniture, etc. – I’m always into the things that have stood the test of time. Classic stuff. It’s rarely the most popular, but it ages well and doesn’t have to keep morphing to stay relevant. That’s the kind of music I like to listen to and create.
NG: What artists inspire you right now?
SM: Man, there are quite a few. In the current day country world, I think Cam is really inspiring. Eric Church has always been and continues to be a big inspiration to me. I still can’t get enough of Jon Pardi’s last record. Around the house, I like to listen to some real throwback stuff like Sam Cooke, Frank Sinatra, and Ray Charles. I just love the soul of that old stuff. I would say that I spend 70% of my time discovering old music, and 30% discovering new.