Exclusive: Kip Moore Had ‘Piano Man’ in Mind While Writing ‘Guitar Man’
Kip Moore calls "Guitar Man" the most important song on his new Slowheart album. It's definitely the most personal, an autobiography that chronicles his early days as a struggling singer and songwriter.
Friend and frequent collaborator Westin Davis was there to witness most of it. With Dan Couch, the two men wrote "Guitar Man," the 10-verse opus that wraps up an otherwise bright third studio album.
"Well last night was a good night as I reached in my jeans / Crumpled up ones, a few tens in between / And a red head named Annie, she's still fast asleep / Made me make her a promise, she knows I can't keep / La de da."
"We all know Kip’s story," Davis tells Taste of Country, referring to himself and good friend Couch. "About traveling around and playing guitar and on many occasions him being the guying playing in the spotlight and a mic and being just an empty face and a nameless name and nobody really cared."
"Off in the shadows / Stands a stool and a stage / Where many souls before me were put on display / I take one last breath, time to pay some more dues / That won't add up to nothing but tips and cheap booze."
Davis says his friendship with Moore goes back 15 years, before they had record or publishing deals. The "More Girls Like You" singer lived 20 miles south of Nashville, but "Nashville may have well as been on the moon, we were that far from it."
“We always knew it was gonna happen,” he adds. “Especially when we didn’t have a pot to piss in. He drove a piece of crap truck. I drove a piece of crap truck. We basically leaned on each other a lot. I know people thought we were delusional, but a lot of times you gotta be delusional to make it.”
"Time to fire up that two tone bucket of rust / Throw my amp and my case in the back of my truck / Breathing my freedom, windows rolled down / Forty-six miles till the next nameless town / La de da."
Kip Moore: The Cover Shoot
"Guitar Man" started like so many of their co-writes. Moore, a night owl, texted Davis, an early riser, with an idea and he responded with thoughts on a chorus. They made a date to work on it and added Couch — it's this trio Davis refers to as the dream team. If the song sounds like a free-thought experiment, it's only because these guys are so comfortable in a room together, so they work quickly.
"Well they'll ask for more love songs and I'll play with a smile / To help them hold on or forget for a while / They can fill up that jukebox with a week's worth of pay / But it can't feel their happy and it can't feel their pain."
Davis has been with Moore through all his personal and professional ups and downs, adding that he can't tell when his friend is upset even if he's smiling. It's an unbreakable bond that will last beyond record deals. What an asset to have when wanting to serve up a personal piece of humble pie.
Of comparisons to Billy Joel's "Piano Man," of course the two men hear it. The song isn't what inspired "Guitar Man," nor was Moore or Davis trying to replicate that sound. But a story that rich and meaningful is always the goal, and hearing this song mentioned with the classic rock hit is a true compliment.
"The end of the night, we'll all be best friends / Then strangers till I roll through town again / I'll yell out hey Lisa something cold in a can / One for the road for the guitar man."
“Our demons are very different," Davis says. "He has his own demons, I have my own demons, but sin in sin. So we seek the same redemption and seek the same salvation.”
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