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Justin Moore enjoys playing state fairs

WANT TO GO?

Justin Moore

WHERE: West Virginia State Fairgrounds, Fairlea

WHEN: 8 p.m. Tuesday

TICKETS: $15 to $23

INFO: www.statefairofwv.com or 304-645-1090CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Not every country star particularly likes playing county or state fairs. Some artists who regular play at state fairs will kind of disavow them. They'll avoid promoting them.

It's like playing the fair isn't cool.

Country singer Justin Moore, who performs Tuesday at the West Virginia State Fair, doesn't mind so much. This summer, he's played a lot of county fairs and state fairs -- some of them located well off the beaten path.

Moore, who is enjoying some success with his seventh hit single, "Til My Last Day," said he likes the crowd at the fair.

"They're very appreciative and thrilled for you to be there," he said. "It's just a lot of fun."

Tuesday's performance will be Moore's second trip to the West Virginia State Fair. He performed in 2010 with the Buckin' B Bull Riding Show as his opening act, which was a first for Moore.

He'd never had cows open for him.

"Last time was a lot of fun," he said. 

(This year's Buckin' B performer is another Moore: Kip, who's no relation to Justin.)

This time around, however, Moore headlines his own night and is looking forward to playing before a fair crowd.

Moore said, "It's kind of funny, going around and playing the fairs. It reminds me so much of where I grew up. Everywhere you go everybody is involved in the same thing. It's all the same folks, just in different parts of the country."

Moore grew up in Poyen, Ark.: population 272. A sign announcing that fact was planted out front of his grandparents' house.

He had a pretty typical small town upbringing. He grew up in farm country, sang in church on Sundays and didn't really get into music outside of that until his senior year of high school when he started playing in his uncle's country and southern rock band.

"My parents took me to the fair when I was a kid," he said. "We used to go to see the shows, ride all the rides and play some of the games. We didn't do it every year, but we did it a lot."

He takes his two-and-a-half year old daughter to the fair now. Of course, how he takes his daughter to the fair is a bit different. They go when she's on the road with him.

"Her favorite thing is to ride ponies," Moore said. He laughed, then added, "I've met everybody in the country who owns a pony in the last two months."

It's still pretty fun, though she and his other daughter don't always get to spend a lot of time on tour with him. Often, they stay home with their mother.

"Being a dad is just the coolest experience," he said. "I love playing shows, but my favorite thing is being home with them, rolling around on the floor, playing or going swimming with them."

If spending time with his family is his favorite thing, want to know what he really hates?

"I hate shooting videos," he said. "I don't care for wearing makeup, and it's a long, long day and you have to fast for a week before you do it so you don't look all bloated all week, like you've been drinking beer all week."

Moore acknowledged that fasting might be putting it a little too strongly, but he still has to watch what he eats, which can't be easy when a lot of the places he's playing this summer feature corndogs, elephant ears and fried candy bars.

"It's not my favorite part of the job [making videos]," he said. "But the fans love it, and it's a good tool to get your music out to people."

After the summer fair and festival season is over, Moore won't be getting too much of a break. Early discussions, he said, are underway about a third album, but it might be a year or so before a new record gets released. Moore's latest, "Outlaws Like Me," has barely been out a year.

"We're also going out with Eric Church this fall," he said. "That's pretty exciting for us."

The tour will take Moore all over the country again, including to Huntington on Dec. 1.

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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