Listen Now: “Stray Dog” by Justin Moore

“I think this was a great example of what people are going to get on this album – some unique ideas and titles. I don’t know how much that matters to other artists. Back when we had CDs and cassette tapes and the titles were on the back, before I would listen to anything, be it some album I bought or a list of 20 songs I’d get pitched, I would read the titles and see if anything jumped off the page at me. When you read a title, you think, “Oh that’s about this,” and then when it surprises you, that’s always fun for me.

Listen Now: "Stray Dog" by Justin Moore

SONGWRITERS: Justin Moore, Paul DiGiovanni, Randy Montana, Jeremy Stover

HERE’S WHAT JUSTIN SAYS ABOUT THE SONG:

It’s really autobiographical – me personally, maybe more so me as an artist. I’ve kind of been the guy who’s fallen under the radar my entire career, which is totally fine with me. We go out and have X amount of hits, sell X amount of albums, and then we never get asked to be on the awards shows, which remains the case.

Me moving back to Arkansas 12 years ago was not a popular thing, I don’t necessarily play the game the same way everyone else plays it. I’ve always tried to be really honest with my fans which has not always been popular in certain areas. I’ve got to be able to go to bed at night and be proud of myself and my career. I’m a bit of an outcast. I thought that was a great metaphor – a stray dog. My producer had the idea for the song and I loved it. I hope it’s not too personal. I think once they read what I just said, they’ll totally understand.

Outcast is a strong word. Country radio has been amazing to me from the beginning of my career, and my record label’s been amazing to me. There are pockets that have been incredibly kind and gracious and giving, and I couldn’t appreciate it more.

Early in my career, I tried to people-please and do things so that I could achieve x, y and z. Fortunately for me, I decided, “You know what? You’re never going to be happy doing that. You’ve got to be yourself and let the chips fall where they may. You’ve got to do you.” And, so I did. During the “bro country” era, all that stuff was blowing up, but that’s not what I do, even if it grew our format. I wasn’t comfortable doing it, and somehow, we kept the boat afloat during those years doing it our way. I don’t know how other than the fans, radio and the label sticking with me.

That was also around the time I moved home, and that was not taken all that well. It was a funny story; I told my label president and Executive Producer Scott that I really wanted to move home. He said, “Don’t do that.” My wife and I had just had our first daughter, and my manager goes, “You’re a grown man. Do whatever you want to do.” So, I did.

Fast forward a couple of years, we’d been having success, and we’re probably on album two or three, and Scott calls. We’re talking about whatever, and he goes, “How long have you been living in Arkansas?” I said, “2-3 years.” He said “Really?” I said, “I told you I could do my job from anywhere.” He said, “I guess you’re right.”

I didn’t play the game to achieve things that weren’t going to make me happy. As much as I love and respect music and appreciate the opportunities that I had at the time, music’s about third for me on the priority list. I’ve been honest with fans about that. God’s at the top of the list, then my wife and kids, and then music. I’ll take care of one and then two, and then I’ll take care of three.

Stray Dog as a title encapsulates all of those things.”

LYRICS:

If I don’t fit in your box that’s just too bad man
I don’t apologize for who I ain’t or who I am
I don’t give a damn ‘bout your give a damn

Chorus

I’m a little more stray dog
A little found, little lost cause
My wins have been hard fought
I don’t bark, I just bite
Put my money on the dark horse
Put my faith in the good Lord
Pray to Him I get one more day

When I lay my head down at night
You can padlock the door, tie me up on the porch
Chain me up I’ll break that chain, y’all
I’m the wild ‘n free kind of breed that’ll always be
Runnin’ with the stray dogs

I been known to howl at a full moon
Ain’t scared to show my teeth
If you think I’ll ever back down
You’re barking up the wrong tree
You better watch that ass when I pin these ears back

Repeat Chorus

Yeah, stray dogs
Been asked my whole life what I’m runnin’ from
With that out crowd motley crew
But it ain’t about what I’m runnin’ from
It’s about what I’m runnin’ to

Repeat Chorus

About Shauna "WhiskeyChick" Castorena

Shauna "WhiskeyChick" Castorena is a freelance writer for both Country Music News and Country Music On Tour. Want to collab on some content? Email me. Want my rates for commercial promo work outside of music? Get them right here.