Debut music, especially debut singles, can sometimes be a rough catch-22. First and foremost, coming out of nowhere to establish yourself as a marketable artist with a style people buy into, you’ll need to build a fan base; a demand for this new music. The easiest way to accomplish that demand would be to release a song that has a wide appeal to attract as many listeners as possible. This is typically means that these debut songs have clichéd, safe lyrics with simple instrumentation so as not to alienate potential fans. That however, is rarely met with high critical acclaim due to the fact that many debut songs tell overdone, unoriginal stories. Such is the case with country newcomer Mo Pitney and his first single, “Country.”
“Country can be in the middle of a city. Country can be on a farm. Country ain’t even a place on a map; it’s a place in your heart” Mo sings in the chorus. The verses continue to list many of things that are included in a country heart. Thankfully, there are no mentions of cutoffs or pickup trucks in a field! However, from old river baptizing to helping those in need without a second thought, Mo Pitney wants you to know he’s a country boy. He loves the Opry, and he’s a patriot who respects his military and all they sacrifice. There’s nothing inherently wrong with songs like this. As I mentioned, they’re safe and bound to attract an audience. However, the song panders to the stress free, simple country lifestyle, and it’s extremely unoriginal. Mo Pitney doesn’t offer anything fresh or new with the lyrics and story.
However, the bright spot of Mo Pitney that’s more important at this moment is his sound. Mo Pitney is true, pure country. “Country” has noticeable fiddles and steel guitars behind the lyrics. The instrumentation is, for my money, the best part of the song. The fiddle solos are fresh and needed in the spotlight of today’s country music. The instrumentation is key because it’s full on traditional. This seems to be the route Mo Pitney wants to go, and I think country music purists everywhere can smile while listening to “Country.” Mo Pitney also has a heck of a voice, reminiscent of Randy Travis and Easton Corbin. Pitney’s vocals here sound seasoned and authentic and they’re another shining spot in this song.
Overall, “Country” does its job as a debut single. It establishes Mo Pitney as a singer, and establishes the sound he wants to bring to the country music world. His voice, with those instruments, on a song with an actual story, like this other original he played at the Opry, is something to look forward to when an album from Pitney is released. It’s worth noting that Pitney is signed to Curb Records, so let’s all hope Mike Curb doesn’t treat Pitney poorly and that we’re given some more music soon. As for “Country” we’ll just have to look past the clichéd, tired lyrics for now while we enjoy the pure sounds of good ol’ country music coming from Mo Pitney.