Song Review – Mo Pitney’s “I Met Merle Haggard Today”


There are some mainstream artists signed to major labels on Music Row that independent country and roots fans can still root for regardless of the financial affiliations—artists like Ashley Monroe, Chris Stapleton, and a few others. But arguably none of them are as purely country, and as young and full of potential as the 22-year-old Mo Pitney. If you’re looking for a brand new artist to get on the ground floor with, who has an entire career ahead of him, has the natural charisma to woo large audiences, that undefinable cool factor, and the overall “it” that could develop into a major country music artist and reintegrate traditional country leanings back into the mainstream, Mo Pitney might be your man.

So far we’ve only seen bits and pieces of what Mo Pitney is capable of—little dollops to get us salivating for what is hopefully a big debut release from his label home of Curb Records in the near future. His first single “Country” co-written with Bill Anderson and Bobby Tomberlin did okay for a fairly authentic country offering from an unknown quantity, cracking the Top 40 in country airplay. Meanwhile his Grand Ole Opry performances have been the talk of traditionalists in Nashville, and if nothing else, Mo has built a lot of authentic country cred in his short, but intriguing country career.

The latest appetizer dangled out there by Curb is an acoustic version of a song called “I Met Merle Haggard Today.” Pretty self explanatory and plenty entertaining, it’s the true account of Mo meeting one of his country music heroes for the first time. Similar to his single “Country,” there’s some elements of listing in the lyrics, and if you wanted to be a naysayer I guess you could look at the entire song as one big name-dropping exercise. But that would discount the feel that this young man imparts through his music, the authentic and divine singing style he brings to the table that may remind one of Merle himself, and a natural showmanship that compels you to keep watching and listening.

It’s a simple little song, but it shows you that Mo’s commitment to authentic country music isn’t just a marketing angle, it’s a sincerity that courses through his blood and is expressed through his music directly.

There’s a long way to go before Mo Pitney and his more true-to-country sound is put in a position where it can be offered as an alternative to the bros, and let’s hope Curb doesn’t get weird on us and make us wait until 2017 before we see a Mo Pitney debut LP. But all the pieces are here, and it sure will be fun to see the results of the Mo Pitney experiment once they blossom.

1 1/2 of 2 Guns Up.

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Pitney also recently released a new single called “Come Do A Little Life” that’s not too bad either.

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