Kip Moore grew up in my back yard. I do not know him.
If you’re unfamiliar with Kip Moore, he’s a country singer. Not the biggest name in country music, but he is known – actually, admired - for having a large, loyal fan base.
In Tifton, GA, the house I grew up in and the house Kip grew up in have adjoining back yards. Walk out my back door, cross the yard and walk into his back door.
You can still do that, but you won’t find him or me in those houses anymore except to visit our parents.
In years past, I made that trek a couple of times because his late father was a teaching golf pro and tried his best to make me a better golfer. Didn’t work, but I knew his dad well and met all the kids, including Kip, I’m sure.
Since Kip is a full generation younger than me, he would have been a wee lad at the time.
WHERE IS THIS GOING?
We were in McMinnville, TN, recently to attend a concert in a cave. McMinnville is home to Cumberland Caverns and a concert hall that is 333 feet below the surface called the Volcano Room.
A favorite singer/songwriter was playing the Volcano Room.
As part of our visit, we did a pre-concert tour of the caverns. Our guide for the tour was a young lady that I’m guessing was in her early 20s. According to her, one of the perks of being a guide was getting to ‘work’ the concerts, meeting and hearing all the cool artists that pass through.
“Who’s your favorite you’ve seen so far?” I asked.
“He was so good and so nice!”
Y’all ready for this?
“Fun fact,” I tell her, “Kip grew up in my back yard.”
I then go on to be specific with the facts: I was friends with his dad but because of the age difference, I didn’t know Kip. But yeah, his mom still lives there and my family still lives there, and I figure one day, he’ll be home and I’ll be home, and we’ll probably have a beer together.
She seemed to think that was pretty cool.
I’m not sure what happened in the next two hours that included the concert we were there to see, but after the show, one of the cavern workers literally chased me down.
“I hear you know Kip Moore!”
Somehow, the game of Rumors had gone full circle. Telling someone Kip grew up near me had fermented into the fine wine of us being pals.
At this point, I simply capitulated on explanations. She was star-struck, and I neither wanted to bust her bubble nor take the time to go into details – again.
“Yeah, he grew up in my back yard.”
She gushed. About how good he was, how he played an extra hour more than scheduled, how he treated the fans as if they were his best friends.
She spoke to me though her words would probably reach Kip.
I grinned and nodded a lot, playing the hand I was dealt: friend of Kip Moore.
So, Kip, my apologies. I totally used you to play the fame card. I owe you a beer.
Since it seems unlikely you’ll be home at the same time I am, I’ll leave beer money with your mom next time through the home place.