Country matchup: Tim McGraw, Kip Moore at Rimrock Auto Arena

2014-07-25T00:15:00Z Country matchup: Tim McGraw, Kip Moore at Rimrock Auto ArenaBy JACI WEBB jwebb@billingsgaette.com The Billings Gazette

With “Somethin’ Bout a Truck” and “Beer Money” his two biggest hits, you’d think life would be all tailgate parties and pickup lines for country artist Kip Moore.

But this summer, he’s got other stuff on his mind, including a string of shows with Tim McGraw, his first headlining tour starting in September, and scalpers.

It’s a hot summer for country artists and shows are selling out, leaving fans to pay 10 to 20 times the original cost of a ticket to see their favorite acts. Moore’s Billings show with headliner McGraw and Cassadee Pope on July 29 at Rimrock Auto Arena has been sold out for weeks.

But you can snag a seat right in front of the stage from StubHub.com for $349 to $600.

Now you see why performers like Moore are tired of scalpers. StubHub.com, which is owned by eBay, is the leading ticket reseller. No longer are shady guys in beards asking you if you’ve got a ticket. You just make a few clicks and offer up your grocery money.

Moore said he’s trying to keep the tickets on his fall CMT tour, “Up in Smoke,” priced low enough for the working man. In a phone interview last week, Moore said scalpers just defeat his efforts.

“It’s a no-win battle,” he said. “But I still think of all the blue collar workers out there who can’t come to my show because of the price of a ticket.”

When Moore talked with The Gazette, he and McGraw were headed to St. Clairsville, Ohio, for the Jamboree in the Hills. Moore is joining McGraw for 30 dates on this tour. McGraw’s tour was listed by Polstar as the No. 9 most lucrative tour on the road this summer, bringing in almost half a million dollars every show.

Moore said he’s been through Montana twice and loved every mile of it.

“I’ve been all through Montana and I just fell in love with that place,” Moore said.

In Billings, he said he may check out the skate park, walk around downtown, or stay close to the venue to work out, possibly alongside McGraw.

“I like to rib Tim a lot,” Moore said. “He’s a super nice guy. We argue about who’s going to wear the tightest jeans or who’s gonna’ wear the tank top that night.”

Moore, 34, grew up in Georgia and went to college in Alabama where he learned to play guitar. Before heading to Nashville where he managed an Abercrombie & Fitch store, Moore spent six months living in a shack in Hawaii thinking about life.

“I don’t think people spend a lot of time in solitude. And when you do, it makes you figure out what you want in life,” Moore said.

While other performers are humming melodies for their new songs, Moore said he always focuses on the lyrics. He has co-written songs with Thompson Square and James Wesley and Moore’s songs are so narrative that the videos look more like a rom-com than a music video, leading to a nomination for Breakthrough Video of the Year in 2013 for “Beer Money” at the CMT Music Awards.

His newest single, “Young Love,” was released in March at No. 22 on the Country airplay charts and became his fastest rising single.

Moore is known for his gritty voice and high-octane set that sometimes includes a bit of crowd surfing.

After a busy year, Moore has just one plan in mind – backpacking in New Zealand.

“I like to push myself, be put in uncomfortable situations that make me focus,” Moore said.

And you thought he only liked to drink beer.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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