"It's a dirt road, a fishin' pole, a cold beer sittin on a tailgate, an old church, a kind word, it's where I was born and raised, Heaven Ain't That Far Away."
The lyrics from Justin's song, "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away," typifies his philosophy on life. In his music and in his life, Justin embodies the soul and character of a kid from a small town.
Justin was born in Poyen Arkansas, population 272 where he'd was raised by his parents, Tommy Ray and Charlene Moore, on the family's 100 acres of land. One would have to go to Poyen to really get a sense of just how "small town" it is. There are no street lights, mostly dirt roads, a florist in an old trailer and one filling station; however, as Justin sings in his single, "Small Town USA," it's where "everybody knows me and I know them and that's the way I believe we were supposed to live." Listening to the lyrics, you know Justin's music is from the heart and that he wouldn't want to have been raised anywhere else.
His grandpa "Pa" and grandma Faynette raised cattle and, as a young boy, Justin would help feed the herd, bush hog the fields and learn about hard work. His other grandparents, "PaPa" and "Ma" lived a mile down the road, and "PaPa" taught Justin to fish and hunt and had him in a deer stand hunting before he was 1 year old.
Justin has been singing since he was 2, and at 8 years old he won the talent contest at Poyen High School. He grew up singing gospel songs in church and listening to nothing but Country music. A student of the genre, Justin can literally sing thousands of Country songs, from old to new, word-for-word and melody-perfect.
When Justin packed up and moved to Nashville right after high school at age18, he already had a manager and an offer as a writer/artist with Zomba Music Publishing. As things often go in the music business, Zomba got sold and Justin wound up signing his writing deal with Big Picture Music, headed by Keith Stegall, renowned producer of Alan Jackson, among others.
Through his attorney, Justin was introduced to young up-and-coming producer, Jeremy Stover and, as a result, Jeremy became both Justin's producer and main co-writer. This quickly led to a recording offer with Scott Borchetta's The Valory Music Co. And, while it took a few years to materialize, Justin patience and willingness to wait for the opportunity to work with Scott and his staff at Big Machine Records/The Valory Music Company (home to Taylor Swift, Reba, Jewel and Jimmy Wayne) more than paid off.
2008 proved to be a big year for Justin as he and his band were fortunate enough to tour with some of the biggest stars in Country music. January '08 included tour dates with Trace Adkins and Luke Bryan as well as an opening slot on "The Rowdy Frynds Tour" with Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hank Williams Jr., two of Justin's musical heroes. A show with Brooks & Dunn and ZZ Top was just another highlight of a great year.
Since bursting onto the Country music scene, Justin has been lauded as Billboard's "New Country Artist of 2009" and received nominations for the 2010 CMT Music Awards "Nationwide On Your Side" Award for emerging artists as well as Music Row Magazine's Breakthrough Artist of 2010.
Justin became the only new Country artist last year to earn #1 single status (for his hometown anthem "Small Town USA"). The success of "Small Town USA" made the Arkansas native the first solo artist to have a song from his/her debut album go to #1 since Taylor Swift's "Our Song" (from her Big Machine Records self-titled release) in December 2007. The hit has sold over a half million downloads to-date.
Justin's follow-up single, "Backwoods," followed suite, becoming a Top 5 hit. His new single, "How I Got To Be This Way" has already reached Top 40 status. Justin's self-titled album, which debuted on the Billboard Top 200's Top 10, was recognized as one of the Best Albums of 2009 in The New York Times' "The Year in the Arts" list by music critic Jon Caramanica - no small feat for a small town boy.
Justin spent the majority of 2009 touring alongside Brad Paisley on his "American Saturday Night Tour." 2010 finds Justin again, performing alongside Paisley on the main stage of the superstar's H20 World Tour.
As the approximately 1 million fans to whom Justin played in 2009 will attest, the rising star's live band show is high energy, non-stop, rockin' country, where his songs tell the truth about a kid from a small town who's doing all he ever wanted to do -- play Country music.
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