Justin Moore's Vocal Battle With Brantley Gilbert

Singer reveals how aggressive duet with Gilbert, 'Small Town Throwdown,' came to be

Justin Moore
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Justin Moore
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Justin Moore may have just scored his fifth Number One single with "Lettin' the Night Roll," which reached the top of Billboard's Country Airplay chart this week, but that's not his only chart presence. He joins Brantley Gilbert and Thomas Rhett on Gilbert's latest single, "Small Town Throwdown."

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The Arkansas resident says he and Gilbert hatched the idea to record together during a Western U.S. run.

"Brantley and I have become pretty good buddies over the past two years. We happened to be playing out west somewhere. I was playing a show on a Friday and he was there on Saturday night. He got there a night early and said, 'Hey, I'm going to come hang at the show,'" Moore tells Rolling Stone Country. "We were just BS-ing and I said we oughta do a song together. We're on the same label, there's no roadblocks there and we have a lot of the same fans."

The seemingly disparate dudes — the white-hatted Moore is about as traditional sounding as a country-radio artist can be these days, while Gilbert is more hip-hop than honky-tonk — chose to wait until the right song came along before hitting the studio. Ironically, inspiration struck within days apart.

"I wrote a song with David Lee Murphy called 'You Can't Fence Me In' and I told my producer, 'This is the one to do with Brantley.' But before I could call Brantley, he texted me, 'Man, I found the song,'" Moore says. "It's so funny how a year's time had passed and we both found what we thought was the song in the same three-day stretch."

In the end, the artists decided to go with Gilbert's "Small Town Throwdown," co-written with the Peach Pickers: Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip and Dallas Davidson.

"He sent me the song and I loved it, and I didn't even play him the other one. He had a record coming out, so it was perfect for his cycle. And Thomas Rhett was on tour with him at the time, and I think that's where TR came in," Moore says. "These things don't always work out, but this one did. I'm excited to be a part of it."

"Small Town Throwdown" appears on Gilbert's new album, Just as I Am. Earlier this month, Moore and Thomas Rhett joined Gilbert onstage at LP Field in Nashville to perform the song as part of CMA Music Festival.