Holler Country Music

Exclusive: Maggie Antone Discusses Her New Song, ‘Johnny Moonshine’

April 26, 2024 9:34 am GMT

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There are times, often right before sleep takes over, when a thought tugs at the brain, frolics across the wrinkles and folds of grey matter, and won't allow peace until it's unleashed. With eyes squinted to a bright phone screen, that thought and the mind can finally be put to bed, a few disjointed words in a notes app the only evidence of that restless moment.

That's how Maggie Antone reckons she became acquainted with the namesake of her latest single.

"I don't know where I got the name 'Johnny Moonshine'," the rising Nashville star shares with Holler. "It was in my notes app on my phone for such a long time. I'd go into a co-write or I'd be sitting down to write something and, when I’m scrolling through ideas, I'd always see it and be like, 'That's such a cool thing.'"

Not everyone in Music City was as keen on the moniker though. As Antone recalls, "I’d brought 'Johnny Moonshine,' as an idea, into several co-writes. Every time I'd bring it up, they’d be like "...eh.'" That was until a round with hit songwriters Natalie Hemby and Aaron Raitiere.

"I'd written with Aaron a few times before, so I was real comfortable with him," she explains. "But it was the first time I'd ever written with Natalie Hemby. Natalie is my hero. She’s written some of my favorite songs. She's the first songwriter that I ever truly loved."

It was in that co-write that the pair took a chance on Antone's idea and the mystery bootlegger. "[They] looked at each other and said, 'Let's do it. And we wrote that song and it's one of my favorite songs ever."

Now, 'Johnny Moonshine' has materialized from a mere scribbling on a phone screen into a playful country groove and perhaps the man of the singer-songwriter's dreams.

“He's an unmarked mason jar”, she opens the song against a rumbling rhythm and tense strings, “He's little too fast, a little too far / He's got a checkered past and a tattoo heart / He's a cigarette alone in the dark”.

"I always joke that Johnny Moonshine is my future husband," the artist adds. "It's just a joke, but I hope he's real, that'd be kind of cool."

Antone has released 'Johnny Moonshine' today (April 25). The single joins a string of recent hits like 'Suburban Outlaw' and the Brendan Walter duet 'I Don’t Wanna Hear About It.'

For more on Maggie Antone, see below:

Written by Alli Patton
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Holler Country Music

Maggie Antone

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