See, This Is Why We Need To Pay More Attention to Mo Pitney
Why is Mo Pitney not more of a thing? I mean seriously folks. Now I know that to Mo Pitney fans, he is a huge thing. They don’t need to be sold on the talent and authenticity of this young man. But you don’t always see Mo Pitney listed off with all the other names of newer artists who are shaking things up, and bringing the roots back to country music, even though you should.
Case in point, Mo Pitney recently released a video in tribute to bluegrass great J.D. Crowe, covering the old bluegrass standard “Old Home Place” written by Mitch Jayne and Dean Webb of The Dillards. The song was covered by J.D. Crowe and The New South on their landmark 1975 self-titled album. J.D. Crowe passed away in 2021, and Tony Rice who was part of that legendary New South lineup passed away on Christmas in 2020.
Normally the live video of a cover song of a cover song wouldn’t be some big news. But then again, this is Mo Pitney, and he pulled out all of the stops, including getting two of the surviving members of that legendary New South lineup to guest on the track in the form of Jerry Douglas on dobro and Ricky Skaggs on mandolin.
But who do you get to fill in for J.D. Crowe and Tony Rice? It’s actually J.D. Crow’s banjo on the track. Then you have Marty Stuart playing Clarence White’s legendary B-Bender Telecaster guitar, along with guitarist Guthrie Trapp, Aubrey Haynie on fiddle, Barry Bales and Tommy Harden on bass and drums respectively, and Jon Randall singing harmony vocals. All of a sudden you have something resembling the second coming of the Will The Circle Be Unbroken sessions from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
All of these old dudes respect the hell out of Mo Pitney enough to take of their time and show up to do something cool. Mo Pitney’s version of “Old Home Place” appeared on his 2020 album Ain’t Lookin’ Back, but the video really illustrates the magic of how it all came together.
But why is the video surfacing now 2 1/2 years after the release, and why do we never hear much of anything from Mo Pitney? Why isn’t he on more big festival lineups? Why don’t you see him out there opening for other folks? Why are there only two dates currently on his calendar? Is this all the curse of Curb Records rearing its head once again, or is Pitney simply content to take life slow?
Either way, Mo Pitney is what we need more of, and now with the resurgence of interest in true country music permeating the mainstream, it feels like the perfect time to tap the untapped potential of Mo Pitney, stop messing around trying to put him on country radio, and let Mo loose to do his thing.
This moment in country music was made for Mo Pitney, and he proves it with his version of “Old Home Place.”
February 16, 2023 @ 9:23 am
I guess people don’t know what to do with a good guy! He’s isn’t out there flippin birds & singing about social change. Love Mo!
February 16, 2023 @ 10:01 am
February 16, 2023 @ 10:15 am
Oh man, what a gem.
February 17, 2023 @ 1:12 pm
Let Mo loose! He is Fabulous talent in one nice guy! Keeping those old songs alive. We want to hear him more & more!
February 16, 2023 @ 10:20 am
& Mo has a great sense of rhythm.
February 16, 2023 @ 10:23 am
Also – Jerry Freaking Douglas? What an all-star cast! It’s fantastic.
February 16, 2023 @ 10:24 am
I’ve always really liked Mo Pitney – saw him back in 2015 and he was great.
It’s always seemed that he was perfectly happy with making real country music, honoring legends, and playing with the best of the best. Many of his best moments are live videos. That’s a great thing and it’s awesome that he doesn’t bend to the pressures of compromising his passion or sacrificing time with family for the sake of more money / fame.
However, his lack of output and presence is certainly a bummer for those wanting to see / hear more of him. I’m sure it’s a tough balance to find, but country music would be a better place with mo’ Mo.
February 16, 2023 @ 10:52 am
Glad to have this in rotation
February 16, 2023 @ 12:48 pm
February 16, 2023 @ 12:51 pm
J.D. Crowe actually passed away in 2021, and it is Crowe on the banjo on this cut! It’s one of the last things Crowe recorded before he passed away. He was a huge fan of Mo’s, and even gifted him an historic guitar a few months before his passing.
February 16, 2023 @ 1:10 pm
Sorry, typo on Crowe’s year of passing. It’s been fixed. Thanks for the info.
February 16, 2023 @ 3:48 pm
@DM–Which guy in the video is J.D.?
They don’t show anyone on a banjo (or if they did, I missed it).
February 16, 2023 @ 3:54 pm
He isn’t in the video. At the time of the recording session, he was unable to travel to Nashville (they filmed the video during recording), so he recorded the banjo parts at a studio closer to his home in the Lexington, KY area.
Seeing it now (a little over a year after his passing), it reminds me of hearing Roy Orbison’s voice in The Traveling Wilbury’s “End of the Line” music video, filmed after Roy’s passing (although Crowe was alive at the time of filming, just not present). Serves a heartfelt homage.
February 16, 2023 @ 12:52 pm
Just bought a couple of albums in Mo Pitney’s repertoire . . . . Trigger, you done good!
February 16, 2023 @ 4:04 pm
Love his music. Don’t remember how I came across his music, but glad I did.
Robert's Country Blog
February 16, 2023 @ 2:09 pm
When I saw Mo in 2019, his sister Holly was also very good.
February 16, 2023 @ 3:34 pm
I’ve been watching his videos a long time- wondered why you hadn’t written about him …
Glad you finally did!
February 16, 2023 @ 4:12 pm
I’ve written quite a bit about Mo Pitney. Checking back, I’m seeing about eight features on him, but nothing in the last 2 1/2 years or so. Part of the problem is he really hasn’t been doing anything, and I don’t really writer articles around videos. I made an exception this time just because this was so unique.
February 19, 2023 @ 5:54 pm
Only real country music singer today. Love his version of Borrowed Angel
February 16, 2023 @ 3:39 pm
Pitney isn’t bigger because the niche he fills no longer exists in country music. He is too cornbread and traditional for the outlaw crowd, not political enough (or I say not the right politics) for the Americana groupthink, and Nashville has abandoned his family-friendly style.
King Honky Of Crackershire
February 17, 2023 @ 4:06 am
This is correct, CK…great comment/analysis. Plain ol C(c)ountry, sung by plain ol, non-gimmicky, clean-cut people, is just not cool enough, to enough people under 40, for him to succeed in the way other non-radio acts are succeeding; what a shame.
If you start listing off the best hard country vocalists who’ve started over the last 15 years, Mo is in the top 3. I think it’s Mo, Will Banister, and probably Randal King, in no particular order.
I think Trig is right though, Mo should give up his radio hopes, and just do what he loves. Although, I’m not sure who his audience is.
February 17, 2023 @ 1:55 pm
Josh Turner isn’t up there in vocal ability?
He is another singer like Mo that should have been a superstar but was abandoned by his genre.
Now we are stuck with people celebrating carpetbaggers, scalawags, and cosplayers while the genuine singers are relegated to sideshows.
King Honky Of Crackershire
February 17, 2023 @ 3:49 pm
Yep, Turner is right there too.
February 20, 2023 @ 8:19 am
Yeah, the “open-minded” generally really aren’t. Take Cody Jinks, for example. I think most of the nay-saying about him popped up when his writing turned from how cool the guy in the mirror was, to pointing out his failings. Contrition doesn’t sell with the self-affirmation crowd.
February 16, 2023 @ 3:41 pm
Thanks for bringing this to our attention! This was actually my favorite song on that album, although I haven’t listened to it in over 10 years. I’ve only watched Mo on his appearances of Larry’s Country Diner, which I haven’t seen a long time either, but he always impressed me. I guess I need to keep an eye on him more.
February 16, 2023 @ 3:42 pm
Dang. Skaggs, Stuart, and Douglas in one place – and that’s not to slight Bales, Haynie, and the rest! Three of the greatest living folks in country music. In a sane world, this would be getting all kinds of radio play. Abso-freakin’-lutely ridiculous track.
February 16, 2023 @ 3:51 pm
The answer to why is answerable. First of all, he is awesome. I’m all aboard. He’s patterning himself after the great singers. He appears on Larry’s Country Diner with Gene Watson. He’s a fan of folks like Lefty Frizzell, Vern Gosdin and so on. Typically the fan base for those artists is an older crowd, gray hairs and the like. He’s also raising a family and is ALL about that. I met him and his whole family, they are very into family and faith. In a nutshell, he’s not edgy like a Billy Strings or Tyler Childers used to be, so no appeal to the counterculture deadhead crowd…at all.
That’s it. He’s an old school soul and possesses an epic voice.
February 17, 2023 @ 3:21 am
agreed Kevin, he’s not edgy enough to be huge, even if probably “normal” is the new punk.
February 16, 2023 @ 4:11 pm
Great song! Also I’m from Charlottesville (hope I didn’t just out myself…).
I mostly know Moe from country family reunion videos on YouTube so I have a soft spot for him for that, especially now that so many of those country legends have passed (RIP Jean, Jan, Little Jimmy).
Speaking of those country legends, there is/was this show called Unsung about under appreciated R&B singers/groups. Great show. I’d love to see at least a YouTube channel or podcast like that for country music legends unknown to those who only know Johnny Cash, Willie, Patsy, etc. I remember when Little Jimmy Dickens passed and being genuinely pissed that most media paid it less mind than they would the passing of a pug that went viral on snapchat.
February 16, 2023 @ 4:16 pm
Ps sorry for misspelling his name…it drives me crazy when people misspell Charley Pride’s name en mass.
February 16, 2023 @ 6:08 pm
Agree, agree, and agree. He is gold.
Bubba’s Cruise & Concerts
February 16, 2023 @ 7:22 pm
That’s a great sing for sure I’ve had it on my Spotify bluegrass playlist since it came out on that album. I thought the other highlights on the record were “old stuff better” and “ain’t bad for a good ol boy”
February 16, 2023 @ 8:07 pm
Saw Mo last summer and not only was it a great concert, he was so friendly afterwards. Met him, his wife and daughter, then he wanted to pray for us, and maybe he knew something because my brother died about a week later. Just a great overlooked talent. I credit SCM for introducing me to him and his music! He definitely has a young spirit, is an old soul, who respects music of the past.
February 17, 2023 @ 1:11 am
I’ve loved Moe’s music since I first heard “Country” on the radio, which surprised me. He deserves more spins and attention for sure! I’ve been hoping to see a show, but no luck yet. Bought both his records and enjoyed them both! I’m sure I’ll buy a copy of anything he puts out in the future as well.
February 17, 2023 @ 1:41 am
I absolutely love Mo Pitney, it’s a shame we don’t hear about him more 🙁
In the same “style”, you’ve got Kenyon Lockry, from Florida. The guy is a gem, he played the opry once, but I guess he’s just too much of a good guy to have any kind of success 🙁
February 17, 2023 @ 5:44 am
Mo was an hour north of me in Scranton, PA, this past Saturday night. I wish I could have gone since I doubt he rarely does anything up here. If I remember correctly he was doing a benefit/fund raiser to a homeless shelter.
About a year ago I entered the incredible alternative universe of the kind of country music Triggere writes about and you all listen to. I think that’s how I first heard him. Great talent.
February 17, 2023 @ 7:47 am
Can’t speak for him, but Mo Pitney doesn’t really seem to be all that concerned about becoming a huge star. He’s only released two albums since 2016, and often drops off social media for awhile. He seems to be happy just doing his thing, supporting and promoting other artists, and working on projects with his faith. He’s currently working on a gospel album and just released a gospel song with CLINE.
Mo Pitney does deserve more attention though.
February 17, 2023 @ 8:30 am
Let’s just understand though that Curb Records has a long history of retaining talent by NOT releasing music from artists so they can never satisfy their contracts. I do not know if that is what is going on with Mo Pitney, but it has to be considered as a possibility. Saving Country Music was founded on this very issue.
February 17, 2023 @ 8:44 am
This is a possibility for sure. I’m just saying he’s not spending a lot of time on self promotion like most artists do. When on social media he is usually promoting someone else, or posting about his faith. This could be from being content with his situation, or as you point out, could be from contractual issues that leave him with nothing to promote.
February 17, 2023 @ 8:58 am
Mo Pitney should be up there with the best. He is a better singer than a lot of those so called country singers. I am 86 years old and love his singing. Margie
February 17, 2023 @ 1:29 pm
I’ll have to check him out again, I tried listening to one of his albums a year ago or so and remember distinctly disliking both the songs and the production. But Clarence White is my favorite player so getting Marty Stuart to play the original b bender on a track is awesome. Has he tried his hand at radio cuts and maybe I just listened to the wrong album?