Photo Credit: Kristin Barlowe

Justin Moore has teamed up with Crown Royal and is set to launch the “Your Hero’s Name Here” program on Sunday, February 24.  He will be performing a special concert at 10 a.m. this Sunday at the Crown Royal footprint ahead of the Daytona 500. Moore will be officially nominating two local Florida heroes who are making a difference in their communities and will be in the running to win naming rights to the Brickyard 400 taking place on July 28.

Moore and the whisky brand are encouraging adult consumers to nominate their own personal heroes (21 or older) – from firefighters and police officers, to first responders and veterans – for naming rights to the race, officially titled the Crown Royal Presents the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard. Fans can visit CrownRoyalHeroes.com through April 14 to submit their nominations.

We had the chance to catch up with Justin Moore and talk to him about the “Your Hero’s Name Here” Program as well as his Outlaws Like Me Tour, his forthcoming album, his new single heading to country radio soon and much more! Justin also gave us his prediction for the Daytona 500 race! Tune-in Sunday on FOX to see if he was right!

CountryMusicRocks (CMR): Country Music has had a big role in the “Your Hero’s Name Here” program the past couple of years and You’ve been chosen to officially launch Crown Royal’s search for the next individual who will receive naming rights to the 2013 Brickyard 400. Tell us a little about the program and what it means to you to get this program launched for 2013.

Justin Moore (JM): It’s a really, really cool program. I was fortunate enough last year to be a part of it and I just fell in love with the idea and concept. It’s really cool. It’s where fans 21+ can go to crownroyalheroes.com and nominate somebody from their area, or somebody that meant a lot to them growing up and made a difference in their lives. The winner eventually will have their name be the name of the Brickyard 400 for the year. I fell in love with it last year because I got to come down and meet the guy who won, which was a firefighter in Alabama. He happened to lose his leg in an incident against just ridiculous odds, and he had done some incredible things as a firefighter down there. Getting to meet him and all these guys & gals from Crown [Royal] that get to do that for these people who otherwise wouldn’t have been recognized, it was really cool and so I was happy to be a part of it again this year. We’re excited to kick it off here in Daytona, it’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re gonna play a show at 10am Sunday morning at the Crown Royal footprint and should be a lot of fun.

CMR: Speaking of Heroes, who is one of your heroes that has impacted your life?

JM: I’ve had a lot of people in my life who have influenced my life in a positive way, but if I had to pick one it would be my Grandpa.  I’ve talked a lot about  him in the past in my music about growing up close to him. He was a military guy that retired out of the Navy. The other important thing to me, growing up was he was the perfect example of a great husband, a great father, a great grandpa. He is somebody I aspire to be like in life.

CMR: NASCAR season kicks off this weekend, and since you’re a big NASCAR fan, any predictions for the Daytona 500?

JM: I’m buddies with Carl Edwards. He and I have known each other for a little while and actually was in the video for “Bait A Hook.”  We kept in touch after that. I think if I had to pick one, my prediction would be Tony Stewart. He’s always ran well in Daytona, but the 500 is always a loser to him. He’s got some good cars this weekend. If I had to pick one, it would probably be him. But I am rooting for Carl.

CMR: Speaking of Carl Edwards, do you have plans to hang out with him while in Daytona this weekend & do you know of any of his pre-race rituals?

JM: Well I just ran into him actually.  I hadn’t talked to him until we ran into each other doing something a while ago.  I would’ve picked him [to win] but I didn’t know about his car because he got banged up yesterday.  He said they pieced the car back together so he thinks it is going to be alright. I don’t know what his rituals are.  He works out a lot I know and eats a lot of Subway, so he’s probably going to have some of that. He’s like me, I know he brings his family out with him a lot, and they are here with him.  I do the same, I always have my family out with me whenever I can. My wife will be out with me this weekend too so hopefully we will have the opportunity to hang a little bit.

CMR: You have been on some major tours the past few years and next month you will be headling your first tour. Tell us a little about your Outlaws Like Me Tour which kicks off on March 14 and what can fans expect at the shows?

JM: It’s exciting. It’s scary, but it’s exciting. I’ve been lucky to be out on a lot of major tours like you said. I think I’ve learned a little bit of something from all of them, so we are going to try to take and apply that to our first headlining tour.  We’re excited about it. We’re excited to have Dustin Lynch and Jon Pardi out with us. It should be a lot of fun. Those guys are great artists in their own rite, and I look forward to getting to know them better.  It’s going to be a lot of fun.  A lot of artists that deserved a lot more than me don’t get the opportunity to do this, so we feel very blessed to be at this point in our career.

CMR: I’ve noticed at your shows that so many of your fans know practically all of your songs that are on your set list, especially your debut single “Small Town USA”. What is it like for you as an artist to stand back and not even really have to sing the song because the fans are just belting it back to you?

JM: It’s mind boggling. I remember traveling around in a van and a trailer when nobody had a clue who we are.  I remember going ‘man as long as we just have one hit song, I’d be happy.’ Then we had a hit and I thought ‘man if we ain’t a one hit wonder, I’d be happy.’ Since then we’ve had two gold albums and three #1’s. We’re at this point and I just kinda scratch my head. It’s very humbling, it really truly is. We’ve been blessed that country radio and all the fans have been incredibly supportive of us from the get-go. It’s been a whole lot of fun over the past few years.

CMR: Your releasing your new single “Point At You” to country radio on March 18. Tell us a little about this song.

JM: I’m excited about it.  It’s one of the songs off this upcoming album that I didn’t write. I’ve wrote quite a few of them as I’ve done on my previous couple of albums. I think “Til My Last Day” being our first love song, and being as successful as it was, I think it opened our eyes to the fact that we can do love songs. Before that, I don’t know if we could. Or I don’t think we thought we could. It’s another tough love song. It’s not a sappy kind of deal, not that there is anything wrong with that, I just don’t think I could go do that very well. I’m excited about it. It’s tempo and it’s rockin’. Hopefully it will do well for us.

CMR: Your working on your third studio album. What has that process been like for you? Has it been easier because you already have two albums behind you or is it more challenging?

JM: I think both. I think obviously anything you do more and more, you get a little better at it I think. But at the same time I had a lot of songs written for the first album or two.  As a songwriter it is tough to keep coming up with new ideas and keep it fresh, but at the same time stay to what your core fans know you as. It is a big deal to me not to contradict myself in the music. I don’t want to come out with an album where people go ‘What in the world is this? This sounds nothing like what he has done in the past, what’s got us to this point?’ But at the same time with the way country music is evolving, and if you want to stay relevant and keep growing, as an artist you’ve got to be able to step outside of the box a little bit as well. That’s the ever, ever growing challenge.  Keep doing what got you to this point, but at the same time growing as well so you can get some more fans that maybe you didn’t get with the first couple of albums.

CMR: Will you be stepping out of the box a little bit with this album?

JM: Yeah, I think this album is definitely the most diverse album I’ve done. I mean I’m not going to be crossing over or anything like that [laughs]. I think, like I said earlier, with the song “Til My Last Day” put me in to the fact that we can go that route a little more and people will go there with us. I’m excited about it.  I think there is some stuff on there that people will be surprised that I cut, and I think there is stuff for the people who love what is on the first two albums as well.

CMR: What has been a standout moment for you in your career so far that you wish you could go back and re-live that moment again?

JM: That’s a good question. They are all special in their own rite, every moment that we’ve had, and we’ve been fortunate to have a lot of them. We’ve had three #1 songs and two gold albums. They [the moments] are all awesome.  If I had to choose one specific thing it would probably be playing the Grand Ole Opry for the first time. That was kind of the point where I go “Wow, we did it.”  Each hit song and each album have all been really special in their own rite.

CMR: When you think of the term “Country Music”, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? What does Country Music mean to you?

JM: I fell in love with country music growing up in a little town in Arkansas because it was describing my life, or I had thought. Country Music has changed over the years. There is all kinds of different styles of country music now, but I think that the greatest thing about real life country music is that people relate to it, in my opinion, more than any other genre of music. I think that is why country music is as popular as it is nowadays.