Introducing....Mo Pitney

Fresh from last year's release of his debut album Illinois native Mo Pitney is set to head over to the UK and Europe as a whole for his first European tour. I was recently able to catch up with Mo during a break in his busy schedule and ask him some questions....

You come from a background of having first learned to play the drums, what prompted learning the guitar and ultimately developing that to a career within country music?

Well I played drums because that was the only thing empty at times at Church! When I really got the bug for music that was really coming from stumbling across some old Bluegrass records that my dad had. The only two percussive instruments in Bluegrass are mandolin and guitar and I wanted to be able to sing so I started singing and playing guitar when I was around twelve or thirteen years old and that's probably really where I got the music bug before that I think I was just kind of joking around. 

Do you feel your upbringing influenced your particular sound?

It definitely did in a lot of ways, I was always listening closely to what my dad was listening to. Since he's a steel guitar player - he plays other instruments but mainly it's banjo and steel guitar - I was introduced constantly old country music and the old records he was listening to and I think that set me on a path of listening to music in his closet that definitely influenced some of the sounds that are still being heard today when we play.

Did a career within country music come as a natural choice?

Not at the time, it seemed kind of far fetched in a lot of ways but I think as time has gone on we recognised that a career within music in general was God's plan all along and we're just going to keep going down that path.

You released your debut album late last year with a UK release coming up, how has the response to that been?

We've been thrilled by the response! We released it at a time when most people probably wouldn't have released a record due to not having a substantial radio success so it kind of had to have it's own organic growth. Even though that was the case we were glad for whatever recognition that it got and so I'm totally pleased with what it's done. 

You wrote ten out of the twelve tracks on the album, did you find it hard to open yourself up quite so much?

Not necessarily, I think it's a musician's desire to open up and be honest about how they're feeling and the way that they write and to share that with others, I think that's kind of the name of the game.

How about when it comes to the actual writing of the songs, what's your process?

That's always different depending on whether you start something on your own or have nothing started and you go in and write with other writers and something transpires in the middle of the day or another writer brings an idea. The beginning of how songs are born and finished is always different every time but it normally has to come from a real place, try and pull from something you've experienced or know about or have felt before, normally you can be assured that someone else has felt that way too you hopefully you'll connect with them. 

Which is your favourite track on the album?

My favourite one to listen to is probably "Take The Chance". I just think it's the overall vibe and feel of it, there's something easy listening about it. I think I get sensitive to listening to myself and any little harshness or imperfections that might come off the record I can find myself turning it off but that song has never really rubbed me wrong, at the end of it I've always wanted to hear it again, I think that's why it's my favourite. I like the sentiment, it's got a sense of faith to it, stepping out and doing something that you don't think you can do. So I think that's probably another reason why I like it.

Which track from any artist do you wish you'd written and why?

There's a lot! There's a lot that I really love, maybe "I'm Just A Country Boy" by Don Williams, there's something profoundly simple about that song that I wish I could get back to and write really simply. I still am blown away by that song every time I hear it.

Can we expect to hear any details about any new releases from you soon?

We've gone in and done some experimenting in the studio. I don't know what or when it will turn into something but hopefully within the first part of this next year we'll have something to share. 

How does the experience of touring compare to day-to-day or going in and recording?

More recently I can tell it's actually been more of a struggle for more. I think probably that's to do with being away from my wife and baby. I love making music and I love playing to an audience but sometimes it can get a little difficult. I do love it when my wife and baby are able to come with and we get in front of the right audience and it feels like it's all clicking and making sense we have really fun times but in general it can make things a little up-and-down. It's par for the course and I enjoy it but I think I've got a lot to learn, what it means to travel and still be a husband and a father, things like that.

How do you balance travelling and touring around and still having that home life?

I don't know if I'm very balanced! We're striving for that, Emily goes on the road anytime that we have the chance. When we come over the pond we're going to have the baby and Emily with, that's just a huge blessing. I think the balance right now is just keeping them on the road as much as possible and then making the best of my time at home when I am home. 

What would be your dream tour to be a part of?

Maybe to be out with James Taylor. I know that's a little different but that might be a dream tour of mine. 

What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?

This isn't musical but the best advice I have ever received is to call out and hold on by faith to Jesus Christ. There is no hope anywhere else as far as I can see. I've looked and I know a lot of people who have looked and whether you're a musician or swing a hammer, to find strength and grace in Christ is the best piece of advice I think anyone will ever receive. 

You're set to head over here on a short European tour, what prompted the decision to travel over here at this time in your career?

Well it actually just fell together in a really cool way. We ended up having a couple of different others to go first to Ireland and the Switzerland showed up and we realised hey we're already over there we need to try and maybe see if we can find a group of smaller shows. We just kind of reached out through some people that have been over your way before and found a couple of singer-songwriter shows to fill the gap behind the first and last full band shows that we had. It was a blessing the way it all came together. 

Do you plan to try and include Europe as a regular tour stop?

If you guys will have us back! Our hope is this tour will help open more and more doors to be able to come back, we've just heard that the audience is so great and respects the music so much, I really hope we get more opportunities to keep sharing music over there.

Thank you to Mo for his time! Keep an eye out for news about his next album as he readies it and you can find all his upcoming tour dates on his website here.