Justin Moore – “Backwoods”

Juli Thanki | October 7th, 2009

justin-moore-backwoodsSongwriters: Justin Moore, Jeremy Stover and Jamie Paulin.

Justin Moore must be riding high after “Small Town USA” hit #1, so what a great time to capitalize on his growing name recognition and rising album sales! Or he could release “Backwoods,” one of the weakest songs on his debut album, as his third single.

Imagine you were a visitor to the South from, say, the planet Mars. “Backwoods” would provide you with all the buzzwords needed to blend in while you work on that second edition of To Serve Man. Moore lists a series of items meant to convey backwoods-ness: gun racks, cold Budweiser, blue tick hounds, and buck knives. What do people do with all these accessories in the backwoods? They go tubing with a preacher’s daughter who “couldn’t get hotter”. In case the listener happens to be one of those Martian/non-backwoods types who is hopelessly unaware of what an inner tube is or how a person accompanied by a hot preacher’s daughter travels down the river in one, Moore helpfully provides a “splash” and a “ha-ha” seemingly intended to be playful but so soulless you’ve got to wonder if he plans on giving said young lady the “Knoxville Girl” treatment.

From the preacher’s daughter to the “work hard, play hard” lyric, clichés abound in “Backwoods.” But even the worst of clichés can sometimes be forgiven if the song’s other elements are far above average, or if it’s got a wildly catchy hook. “Backwoods” has none of those things. There’s no story or sense of forward movement here, just a list of stuff set to generic guitar with a half-assed chorus tacked on. There is a hint of banjo and pedal steel, but there’s nothing about the music itself that’s particularly memorable after the song is over.

Justin Moore has a good voice, as is evident on “Small Town USA,” which makes the shouting he does here even more of a shame. He’s also capable of writing a good song: “Grandpa” is a moving tribute, and “Hank It” is a catchy country rocker that Bocephus himself might dig, and not just because he lends the song its title. “Backwoods” sounds like something stolen from Jason Aldean’s recycle bin, but considering the popularity of these types of songs, it’ll probably zoom up the charts anyway.

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  1. [...] The 9513 thinks its one of the weakest songs on the CD ;  Country Universe appears to agree [...]
  1. stormy
    October 7, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Anyone want to give an over/under on how many posts it will take someone to tell Julie she’s wrong because the song is vooming up the charts?

  2. Dr. No
    October 7, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Record labels and country radio loves making fun of country people.

  3. Steve M.
    October 7, 2009 at 10:45 am

    That picture makes him look like a wife beater and white trash. Or maybe that is the image he and the record label are going for.

  4. Stewman
    October 7, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Weak song??? who cares when you can spotlight your attitude!! THis song is so bad its good.

  5. Noah Eaton
    October 7, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    I just realized that the chorus in “Small Town U.S.A” mentions him having his “baby by my side” while the chorus in “Backwoods” references him holding his baby tight.

    Maybe we should give him the benefit of the doubt and, rather than assume he has already ran out of topical ideas lyrically, he references his child in the former and his wife in the latter? :P

  6. Charles Murphy
    October 7, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Once again, a complete piece of crap, regurgetated BS brought to you by a cliched singer and the idiots on Music Row that continue to pedel this junk.
    Small Town USA sucked too….They just had enough money and influence to push it up the charts.

    Why does Justin Moore have a career again??

  7. Noeller
    October 7, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    Ugh. This song MIGHT be worse than “She’s Country”. What in God’s good name is with all these ridiculous “Country Cliche” songs lately??? It’s like everyone sat around listening to Ricochet’s debut album before recent writing sessions.

    I’m not from the south – I’m from Canada – so I have no clue what it’s like in the Southern States, other than what I’ve gleaned from Country songs over the years. Can all of this REALLY be accurate???

    I totally agree with the poster who said that record labels and Country radio like to “make fun of people from the south”. I mean, my goodness, even Rodney Atkins “That’ What I Love About The South” was better than this tripe, and Rodney can’t sing!!

    Oi Vey!

  8. Hanford
    October 7, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Sounds like a John Rich production… that’s not a good thing…

  9. stormy
    October 7, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    And why is all of this stuff exclusive to “backwoods” in the South among “hicks?” I just got off the phone with my mamma and my daddy killed his deer and she doesn’t know what to do because the freezer is full of the 2 pigs they killed last week and my sister still has her bear tag. And we’re from Oregon. And three of the four of us have college educations. So maybe one of these song writers could, I don’t know, actually live in a rural area. Or talk to someone who lives there. Or talk to someone who has driven through one once.

  10. Rose
    October 7, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    You know, I like songs about “the country” and the South, but GOD, where are the personal experiences? Nashville is trying to appeal to a broader audience, right? Well, let me tell you, as a Southern Californian, these kinds of songs are doing nothing to help that. Us Yankees can already imagine all the stereotypes and cliches that go along with the South – big trucks, big guns, hound dogs, cowboy boots, bonfires (heh), etc. *I* could write a song about the South like that and nobody would know the difference! Listing songs can be fun sometimes, but every single song about the country is like that now!

    What’s going to draw me in is the stuff I can’t imagine, the stuff that makes life interesting – people’s personal experiences. It doesn’t have to be totally deep – even a song like Tim McGraw’s “Something Like That” paints a nice picture of a memory of falling in love at the county fair, without just describing all the same ol’ things that go on at every county fair in America. It tells a bit of a story for a change – what a concept!

  11. Nicolas
    October 7, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    “Sounds like a John Rich production… that’s not a good thing…”

    I don’t like him at all, but he did a good job producing Jewel’s album

  12. Lucas
    October 7, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    That new music ain’t got the same soul.

  13. sam
    October 7, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Sometimes I think songs like this and “Redneck Woman” and “Bonfire” and “High Tech Redneck” are so bad they are good.

    But not always. I’ve long had a love/hate relationship with country music. Listening to it brings me some enjoyment, but I always feel guilty, as if I should be spending my time with something more substantial than George Jones weepers or Joe Diffie novelties or cliche-ridden songs about the country. Even at its best country is just mindless entertainment and while I guess that’s okay for background noise in my car, I sometimes feel bad that I listen to it so much.

  14. Matt B.
    October 7, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    If Y’all don’t like this, you won’t like Randy Houser’s new single either….It’s loud, rock-ish and well, recalls “Hillbilly Deluxe.”

  15. Jim Malec
    October 7, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Hey now, no need to knock Ricochet.

  16. Noeller
    October 7, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    ha! Jim, I was waiting for the first comment. It was NOT a knock. Heath and the boys were great and that debut disc was good (something like 4 or 5 singles release??!!) but you get what I’m saying, right?? All these stereotype/cliche songs are all knock-offs of Daddy’s Money. All kinds of “Yay For The South!!” type b.s.

  17. Rick
    October 7, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Love the “Knoxville Girl treatment” comment. Maybe Justin should have done a murder ballad list song instead? Hmm…

    I think the label is guessing that on the heels of Justin’s #1 hit they can get away with darn near anything. Once the soccer mom audience has accepted a new artist on Top 40 country radio by getting him into the #1 spot, then the quality standards can drop dramatically and still yield good results. Randy Houser proved this by going from “Anything Goes” to “Boots On”. Now Justin’s just hoping to repeat that process. If the Top 40 radio audience craves musical mediocrity, why fight it?

  18. Gee
    October 7, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    I totaly disagree with you. Rodney Atkins is one of the best out there today!

  19. Robert
    October 7, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    John Rich haters huh? heh…well not surprised…i must disagree. he is one of the best songwriters out there today. the albums he’s produced have been hella good too. i must admit his debut album was a little less than what he could have put out…and his voice definitely doesnt sound as pure without the growl of big kenny…but all in all good album. that’s besides the point thought. the man is a hell of a songwriter and producer.

    /end speech

  20. the pistolero
    October 7, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    something more substantial than George Jones weepers

    So “A Good Year For The Roses” was just fluff? All righty then.

  21. waynoe
    October 7, 2009 at 7:34 pm


    Where might you be from? Just wondering.

  22. kevinjy
    October 7, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    JR is a helluva songwriter/producer when he wants to be for sure! I mean look at the early Lonestar stuff, Early Big & Rich, a slew of cowrites on singles by other major artists…I have no doubt JR is a great songwriter when he wants to be…but I feel he gets sloppy on occasion..or maybe it is that he just gets bored..I dunno. Don’t take this as a trashing of him…I quite like JR when he tries…he just seems to not try as hard lately.

  23. Steve Harvey
    October 8, 2009 at 5:46 am

    I thought the production on Shutting Detroit Down was fantastic, just a wimpy vocal and not-great lyric let the song down.
    Rich has plenty of faults, but I rate him pretty highly as a producer. Not Frank Rogers highly, but pretty highly.

  24. WAYNOE
    October 8, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Also Rich is outspoken about some political things; however contrary to most entertainers he is more conservative which raises the ire of many people in the industry as most are liberals. For some reason he gets slammed for what he says but others who are outspoken in their liberalism somehow gets a free pass.

    Juli, where did you say you were from?????

  25. Thomas
    October 8, 2009 at 8:57 am

    …questions don’t get any better by repeating them or increasing the number of question marks.

  26. Chris N.
    October 8, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Yes, we know how unpopular conservatism is in country music.

  27. stormy
    October 8, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Waynoe: Could it be that the liberals are simply better writers?

    Also, Julie is from a magical land in the 6th demension where people keep miniutre sheep for pets and poodles roam wild in the countryside.

  28. kevin w
    October 8, 2009 at 9:48 am

    “Waynoe: Could it be that the liberals are simply better writers?”

    Maybe if you agree with their views yes.

  29. Brady Vercher
    October 8, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Oh boy! Comedic fodder to go with my morning coffee.

  30. Juli
    October 8, 2009 at 10:35 am

    a magical land in the 6th demension where people keep miniutre sheep for pets and poodles roam wild in the countryside.

    If this place also has songwriters who don’t rely on lists of cliches or use country stereotypes as cultural shorthand, I’m moving there immediately.

  31. Leeann Ward
    October 8, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    SeriouslY? I assume not.

    Seriously? I assume not.

  32. Noeller
    October 8, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Seriously – who said Rodney Atkins is one of the best out there today……?? You must’ve just forgotten your winkie face at the end…

  33. stormy
    October 8, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Leeann: On the one side you have Kris Kristofferson and Rodney Crowell and on the other Toby Keith and this crap.

  34. Leeann Ward
    October 8, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    C’mon, Stormy, it’s rhetoric like that from either “side” that just turns people off. It’s just not that simplistic. You’re just being funny though. Right? Right?

  35. waynoe
    October 8, 2009 at 2:25 pm


    I see that the word “crap” is only associated with Toby Keith and not Kris or Rodney. Hmmmm.

  36. stormy
    October 8, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    That is because Rodney Crowell and Kris Kristofferson are good writers. Seriously, instead of wasting all this energy trying to defend Toby Keith or John Rich, spend it trying to recruit Steve Earle or Matraca Berg.

    Leeann: The problem is, get away from the rhetoric songs and you still have Many A Long and Lonesome Highway and Sunday Morning Coming Down vs She’s A Hottie and Save A Horse Ride A Cowboy.

  37. Brady Vercher
    October 8, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    You do realize Toby Keith is a self-professed Democrat and voted for Obama, right? And you realize that political affiliation is independent of the ability to write quality songs, right?

  38. stormy
    October 8, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    I am, which is very likely why he sucks as a conservative song writer.

    I was not aware that he voted for Obama though. I figured he would have jumped on the Palin train, figuring her to be the more media generating choice.

    And Brady, I don’t think that being liberal MAKES one a bettern songwriter, I just think we somehow wound up with better songwriters. Though the conservatives did get Billy Joe Shaver, to be fair.

  39. Chris N.
    October 8, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    Toby claims to have re-registered as an independent due to his shock and horror at liberals’ mean attacks on the honor of poor, defenseless Sarah Palin. To wit: http://tinyurl.com/4en4rh

  40. Chris N.
    October 8, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    And I’ve never heard him say he voted for Obama.

  41. Brady Vercher
    October 8, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him say it before, but I’ll back away from that if it’s unverified, although re-registering doesn’t really negate anything or make him a conservative.

    Anyhow, that’s all beside the point, which is how ridiculous it is to compare the output of selected songwriters and make any sort of declarative statements related to quality based on political affiliation.

  42. Leeann Ward
    October 8, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    I recall it the same as Chris. I just remember that he was disenchanted with the liberals for their treatment of Palin, therefore, left the Democrat party to register as an independent and voted for Bush at least the second time around.

    I think the liberals have some great songwriters, but it’s silly to suggest that they’re the superior songwriters.

  43. Chris N.
    October 8, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Artists tend to be liberal. Country music is the exception that proves the rule.

  44. Lucas
    October 8, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    I love lamp.

  45. Guy
    October 8, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    “Small Town USA” went to Number ONE???? God help us all!

  46. Kay
    October 8, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Feel free to like or dislike who or whatever song you please but watch it with the Rodney Atkins slams.

  47. Noah Eaton
    October 9, 2009 at 2:12 am

    I’m in agreement with Brady and Leeann that it is puerile suggesting a political ideology makes naturally born superior songwriters than those that follow another ideology.

    I’ll just come out and say Moore’s “Good Ole American Way” is an atrociously awful song, and it would be no less or more awful if Steve Earle had written it.

  48. Stormy
    October 9, 2009 at 6:45 am

    Noah: I am not saying that political leanings make better song writers. I’m just saying that generally songwriters who happen to be liberal are better than most songwriters who are conservative. Not cause and effect, just the way it worked out.

  49. Waynoe
    October 9, 2009 at 9:40 am


    Now that you have thrown the covers off and revealed your true inner liberal self, you cannot give any kind of review or comment that will be taken seriously. You are another politically correct person that is so skewed.

    Case in point. I am a “flaming” conservative but have always liked Emmylou Harris.

    Do you actually mean that we should recruit Steve Earle? You are kidding aren’t you?

    By the way Toby won the artist/songwriter of the decade.

    I personally get tired of the beer/bar songs of his but I also tire of Earl’s rants of which he is very unqualified to give.

    By the way Juli, where did you say you were from?

  50. Chris N.
    October 9, 2009 at 9:44 am

    “Flaming” is an interesting choice of adjective there.

  51. stormy
    October 9, 2009 at 9:49 am

    I revealed my true inner liberal self? My inner liberal self was about as closeted as Adam Lambert.

    The reason you like Emmylou Harris is because he is a good songwriter and singer. Toby Keith, on the other hand, wrote “She’s a Hottie” and he needed help doing it. Seek out and support better conservative songwriter and you will be surprised how much less criticism they get. It never fails to surprise me that, especially in the mainstream, conservative fans are willing to tirelessly advocate for the most mudane and even poorly written lyrics. Its not like liberals are praising Rodney Crowell for writing “Obama’s great/head of state/don’t be late/he’s really great.”

  52. Brady Vercher
    October 9, 2009 at 9:54 am

    Waynoe, I’m from the South and agree with Juli, but I don’t see how where I’m from matters. Your trump ain’t as strong as you seem to think it is.

    Stormy, you’re still trying to make silly distinctions.

  53. Leeann Ward
    October 9, 2009 at 10:12 am

    I think it’s kind of frightening that you’re demanding to know where Juli’s from, Wayno.

  54. Waynoe
    October 9, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Leeann – No it’s not frightening to know a writer’s origin. This is supposed to be an intelligent blog. Not all of us are hiding behind a bush with a six-gun and a confederate flag willing to commit backwoods Appalachian crime. Grow up for the sake of intelligence!

    Stormy – Read my next to last paragraph on prior post. In addition, I am a lyricist and advocate for well-written songs. If I have my druthers, I would still be listening to Don Williams, Ms. Harris, the Eagles (who are way more country than Rascall Flatts). And by the way, ole lefty Earle did good by Guitar Town.

    Brady – You are right. It doesn’t matter where YOU are from. A snide remark to an intelligent assertion deserves no reply.

  55. stormy
    October 9, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Waynoe: You support good songwriting. You wonder why Toby Keith and John Rich get criticisized. Those two sentances do not seem to go together.

  56. Leeann Ward
    October 9, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    If Brady’s right that it doesn’t matter where one is from, why do you insist on knowing where Juli’s from? Furthermore, how is the question even an intelligent one in the first place? Moreover, repeating a question that’s obviously not going to be answered to prove some sort of point isn’t exactly a solid example of being “grown up.”

  57. Brady Vercher
    October 9, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    If it doesn’t matter where I’m from, then it doesn’t matter where Juli is from, which was the point. It wasn’t all that snide, but either way, it’s the truth.

  58. CMW
    October 9, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    The secrecy can mean only one thing: Juli is from Area 51.

  59. Chris N.
    October 9, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    I think Juli was born in Kenya. If only she would produce the birth certificate we could settle this!

  60. Jon
    October 9, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    What a bizarre discussion.

  61. wade patry
    October 10, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    How does someone’s political beliefs have anything to do with how good of a songwriter they are?

    I’m socialist, does that automatically make me a bad songwriter?

  62. Colt
    October 12, 2009 at 10:58 am

    I would like to visit this place called “Backwoods”. Evidently it is populated by 50% hard working alcoholics who enjoy bonfires and live in hollers back in the woods. The other half must be preachers who’s sole purpose is to breed daughters. I bet there’s very little preaching being done because the hard working alcoholics sleep in on Sundays after staying up all night at the bonfire with the preacher’s daughter. The preachers must be quite handsome men to always be spawning such lovely daughters.

    October 22, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Ok Yall need to just back off because all of his songs are AWESOME OK. Just because ya’ll don’t know what country is, ya’ll don’t need to go around saying crap about Justin. I know him personally and if he reads this he will be so mad and upset. O and by the way the Backwoods is awesome. So just back off, leave him alone.
    And whoever this Colt person is, is TOTALLY wrong about the Backwoods.

  64. Steve M.
    October 22, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Justin, lay off the cold medicine before posting.

    October 22, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Steve, this ain’t Justin

  66. merlefan49
    October 22, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Ouch this is bad. I couldn’t make it though the whole song. Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins have a new duet called “Hillbilly Bones” that is just as bad or a bit worse.

  67. Ben Foster
    March 14, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    I knew I hated this song the moment I heard the 30-second iTunes preview, but I couldn’t quite describe why. This reviewer hits the nail right on the head, tearing the song apart in a way that is so dead-on accurate that it makes me laugh out loud. I hope I never hear this pop-heavy trainwreck again.

  68. luckyoldsun
    March 15, 2010 at 2:17 am

    My two cents-worth:

    Toby Keith is an artist.
    The guy takes chances. His songs often express things in new ways, rather than being interchangeable rehashes of what everyone else is doing. “Shoulda Been A Cowboy”, “How Do You Like Me Now,” “Crying For Me” and a bunch of others all sound completely original and fresh.

    Sure, he’s had some crappy songs, too, but so has everyone else, from Willie to Alan Jackson.

    John Rich is awful. The guy is a blathering showoff but a truly rotten singer.

  69. john
    March 17, 2010 at 11:24 am

    I dont see how they could give it a bad review. I mean I know people have their own opinions but I love this song. And Im pretty sure its going up the charts.

  70. bputt
    March 19, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    WOW how old are you guys that are knockin the new upbeat country songs? if you dont like it go get ur vinyls bak out, let them make some fun songs that we like to listen to workin on the trucks n on the farm. who wants to listen to slow junk when tryin to stay motivated and have some fun?

  71. Steve M.
    March 19, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    I am guessing those of us you are complaining about being too old are old enough to have actually taken English in school.

  72. stormy
    March 19, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    35 and actually music sounds better on vinyl. To bad its hugely unportable and easily breakable.

  73. Steve M.
    March 19, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    I love my vinyl records still. It may be an acoustical trick, but it has always sounded warmer and has more depth to me then my CD’s, and then later my Ipod hooked up to the stereo

  74. dakota duke
    May 3, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    you inspire me to sing when i get older

  75. Celebrity Fashion
    May 5, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    I like this music

  76. B-Dub
    April 2, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Uh, Yeah. You, you honestly have no clue and must be 200% city loser if you don’t like Backwoods. If you are from the city, there’s nothing wrong with that but don’t try to judge what ain’t up your alley(Get it? Tee Hee). Ya see, ya don’t need to “tell a story” if your singing about your life, which is, quite frankly, great. Uh huh, let’s all rip on Justin Moore instead of any actual terrible “artists” like M&M and his little rap groups. Genius.

  77. B-Dub
    April 2, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    But really, I am quite horrified if you guys were all serious about trashing “Backwoods”. Just sincerely horrified. Horrified.

  78. logan
    April 5, 2011 at 9:45 am

    ohkayy i live in the south &+ love justin moore so lay off all yall city folks need to back off i mean if you dont like it then why are you even looking at this page?

  79. Justin M is Awesome
    May 16, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Ok Im from AR so im almost as country as you can get…And i know good and true country music an Justin Moore is Good and true country music…if you actually listened you would know:). And Gee, i agree rodney atkinsis one of the best, and Noeller, Rodney atkins is awesome He sings good and true country music too. Most of the new people aint true country and i can name alot..like Lady Antebellum, Band Perry, and a whole bunch more but there are some new good and true country singers and that includes Justin Moore, Rodney ATkins, Chris YOung, and Billy Currington….And more..What if you were a new country singer and someone hated ur music and put bad comments like the ones above on your new song….ever thank anout that?? Give the man a break. Yall just jealous cause he is way better lookin than yall..k bye bye for now(::)

  80. Justin M is Awesome
    May 16, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Oh and thanks for gettin that point across logan :)

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