Mo Pitney’s name was put on the map when publications everywhere started naming the Illinois native to their 2015 “ones to watch” lists. However, it was long before this year that Mo Pitney entered the country music world, working his way slowly but surely to the watchful eyes of fans, critics, and industry executives alike.
Pitney grew up in a musical family, learning to play drums at the age of six and picking up the guitar at twelve-years-old. Two weeks later, he was playing an open mic night, covering Johnny Cash’s music from Johnny Cash At San Quentin.
After I played, I saw a guy backstage playing a banjo, so I picked that up for a couple of years. By age 15, I grabbed the guitar again playing lead acoustic, my brother played bass and we had a friend who played mandolin.
Once he realized his true potential and was determined to make a career out of music, Pitney relocated to Nashville with some encouragement by a fellow songwriter. Becoming somewhat abnormal from a music industry standpoint, Pitney was almost immediately signed by Curb Records. Upon creating this path into country music, Pitney teamed up with producer, Tony Brown.
Instead of trying to put some songs together to come out of my mouth and create an artist with my face, Tony said, “I want to find out who you are, pull it out of you and put it on tape.” It wasn’t just the way he said it, it was in everything he did. Realizing I can create a record the way I want to and use the musicians I want was an eye-opening experience. We recorded my vocals while I was sitting on a stool and playing guitar at the same time, so it’s a live record in a lot of ways. My hands were untied.
The individualized nature of his work and the simplicity of his music come from his own mentality of avoiding too much complexity, yet being a thinker with a lot of depth.
I’m a God-fearing man. I love simple things. I love simplicity in songs because I love simplicity in life. But I’m also very deep, which is weird. I’m a thinker. And I go so deep, a lot of times I just confuse myself and get frustrated, but when I come home and my dog runs and jumps up on my lap, that does something to my spirit. I love to hunt and fish. I love the outdoors. I love my family. I try to live pretty morally square. Pretty clean guy. I’ve got my problems, but I try to stay pretty straight.
The result of Pitney’s application of his self to his work is his debut single “Country,” which is one of the leading the radio adds as of late. The song explains the impact that music has on Pitney’s life, indicating that it isn’t just a map dot, but a chamber of his heart. Other fan favorites from Pitney’s original catalog include “Clean Up on Aisle Five” (the song he chose as his opener for his first Grand Ole Opry performance) and “Come Do a Little Life.”
I just love music. It has never been about praise. Playing the Grand Ole Opry was an amazing experience, but I have just as much fun sitting on my bed playing along to an old record. It’s always been that way.
Pitney has come a long way from sitting on his bed, playing along to an old record; he has succeeded in ways he never dreamed possible. He has made his Opry debut, he is working under a record label, and he is creating music that he loves. Who could ask for anything more?