Justin Moore is grateful to his tiny hometown of Poyen, Ark., for giving him the inspiration for his first No. 1 hit, 'Small Town USA.' And while the singer may have found success in Nashville, he admits he still gets homesick at times.

"I always knew I loved it there," Justin tells CMT. "I was one of the guys who never wanted to leave. There are a lot of people who are like, 'I can't wait to get the heck out of Dodge.' I never wanted that. But in order to do what I do, it was absolutely necessary. I missed it from day one."

Justin lived in Nashville for several years before his music career took off, and recalls those times were not easy. Fortunate enough to secure a publishing deal, he quickly found that even that didn't guarantee success -- or much of a living. " I wasn't getting paid any money hardly," Justin explains. "I was new, for one, and I was holding all my songs for myself, so I wasn't getting any cuts. So I sold meat out of the back of my truck ... What was funny is that I'd be selling meat one day, and I'd be writing with some big-time songwriter in town the next day. I didn't want to knock on somebody's door I might be writing with the next day, so I'd drive out of town about an hour or an hour and a-half when I did that. I didn't want anybody to see me in that light."

In 2005, Justin caught the attention of record executive Scott Borchetta, who quickly saw star potential in the singer. But, according to Justin, Scott was focused on launching the career of another artist first. "We both wanted to do something together, but he had some priorities he had to get to before he could get to me," says Justin. That other artist was a then-unknown singer-songwriter named Taylor Swift.

Fortunately for Justin, his patience with Scott paid off. "At the time, I was 19 or 20 years old, and I thought, 'If I only get one shot at this, I want it to be with him.' I also thought it would give me more time to write more songs and hone in on what I do, even more than I'd done in the past. It worked out well."

Justin's self-titled album recently debuted at No. 3 on the charts.