At a time when country music was becoming overrun with artists whose style had more to do with pop and dance music than the traditional sounds that built Nashville, Mo Pitney enjoyed his first success as a singer and songwriter who enthusiastically embraced a classic country sound, earning a standing ovation during his first appearance at the Grand Ol' Opry.
Mo Pitney was born in Cherry Valley, Illinois on March 24, 1993. Pitney's father was a part-time musician, and by the age of six, Mo was learning to play the drums. When he was 12, Pitney was recovering from a broken arm when he asked his dad to teach him to play guitar, with a towel draped over the instrument's body so as not to scratch the finish. It didn't take long for Pitney to learn a couple of Johnny Cash tunes, and he made his performing debut at a local open-mike show a few weeks later. By the age of 15, Pitney had started playing banjo, got hooked on bluegrass music, and formed an acoustic band with his friends; discovering the music of Keith Whitley opened Pitney's ears to the wave of traditionalist artists who rode the country charts in the '90s and 2000s, and Randy Travis, George Strait, and Daryle Singletary became key influences, as well as country legends such as Buck Owens and Ray Price. By the time he was 20, Pitney had moved to Nashville with an eye toward making music his career, and he landed a record contract with Curb Records. In June 2014, Pitney was invited to appear at the Grand Ol' Opry, and the unknown artist wowed the audience with heartfelt performances of his songs "Country" and "Clean Up on Aisle Five." Pitney's brief set was received with a standing ovation, and in December, Curb released "Country" as a single. The record earned enthusiastic reviews, and Country Rebel magazine declared Pitney was "the next Randy Travis." "Boy & a Girl Thing" followed in 2015, setting the stage for the October 2016 release of his full-length debut, Behind This Guitar. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi