Old Home Place – new single from Mo Pitney

Mo Pitney – photo © Jeremy Coward

Mo Pitney? Isn’t he a country guy?

Well… yes, and yes.

But he was a bluegrass guy first, or we should say, his love for bluegrass and traditional country developed simultaneously when he was a boy. Mo spent his youth performing in a bluegrass band with his dad and his brother, and his sister is also a talented vocalist.

Signed to Curb Records where he has a thriving country career, Pitney continues his fascination with bluegrass, which he plays as often as his touring allows, back home in Nashville.

He explained it perfectly when we spoke a few days ago…

“I’ll say it this way… I don’t ever set aside time to play country music. But I do set aside time to play bluegrass music with my friends, get a pizza, and just have a good time.”

He married one of the prettiest girls in bluegrass, Emily Bankester, also a very strong singer. They have two young children they are raising now who are likewise expected to be pickers and grinners.

YouTube is full of evidence of Mo popping up at SPBGMA to jam in the hallways, or pickin’ with friends in Nashville, like John and Mary Meyer, Russ Carson, and others. It’s clear that he hasn’t lost a step as far as bluegrass street cred is concerned.

Today, Curb Records is releasing a single from the current Mo Pitney album to bluegrass fans and radio, Mo’s cut of Old Home Place, featuring a gaggle of heavy hitters from the bluegrass world. J.D. Crowe played banjo, Aubrey Haynie is on fiddle, Ricky Skaggs on mandolin, Barry Bales on bass, and Marty Stuart on guitar. Skaggs and Jon Randall sing harmony.

So how did a big pop and country label end up releasing a bluegrass cut? They have records for Hank Jr., LeAnne Rimes, Tim McGraw, The Judds, Lou Rawls, Lyle Lovett, Andy Williams, and many more such.

Mo explains how it came to be…

“The second album I made was with Jim ‘Moose’ Brown producing, and we set aside three full days at his studio. We cut about 25 songs to get a feel for being a band, figuring we would keep the best ones. One day I was just sitting there messing around with Old Home Place, and Moose came back on the talkback and said, ‘Hey… the guys are thinking about doing something with this.'”

The studio band was in the booth with Brown, and were groovin’ on the vibe that Mo was getting, with just his voice the guitar.

“Moose said, ‘I’m going to do something with the drums, so don’t be surprised when it comes in.’

After we finished, Marty Stuart heard it at Moose’s studio and said, ‘Hey I want to play on that track.’ So we figured, let’s get some of the original guys like Crowe and Ricky and Flux.”

The finished track is an interesting mix of bluegrass and modern country, played at a slower tempo than grassers usually hear, with a heavy drum beat.

“That day I didn’t even think about it being slower, but that was the tempo I had been playing it that day. In the midst of the country session, it felt fast.

It’s amazing to me how organic it was. It wasn’t part of the plan, it’s just part of who I am and what I do since I’ve played bluegrass all my life.”

So the obvious question came up… will there be more grass from Mo Pitney in the future?

“One of my best friends, John Meyer, and I have been playing bluegrass on the front porch for years. So we figured we might as well do something at The Station Inn, and with no promotion other than one Facebook post, it was standing room only.

Me and John have written a bunch of songs for this thing, and I have a feeling it could become an album at some point. More about friendship and people getting together, but I think it will happen.”

That is wonderful news for all the bluegrass lovers who have hoped to see Mo Pitney back at his first love.

Old Home Place is available now as a single from popular download and streaming services online. The song is also included on Mo’s current album, Ain’t Lookin’ Back.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.