C2C REVIEW: Mo Pitney – Sunday 11th March, BBC Radio 2 Stage

Credit: Luke Dyson

Who caught a Mo Pitney show at C2C this year? Weren’t we the lucky ones?

Despite a country hangover – nothing to do with alcohol and everything to do with Saturday’s line up (and THAT after party) – I ventured forth, via Starbucks, to queue outside the Indigo, along with a crowd of around forty early birds, to see a much-anticipated Mo Pitney. Within a few minutes the line grew longer and continued to swell, until the doors opened an hour later. Patience was rewarded with the coveted front and centre position.

I’d heard whisperings along the weekend about how good Mo sounded, however the juxtaposition of certain C2C line-ups means greatness often turns up at simultaneous venues. Talk about the flipping coin.

I was impressed when I streamed Mo’s album, Behind this Guitar, released in 2016, particularly with the song Country. 

And I wasn’t the only one enthralled throughout by the natural storytelling and charm from the Rockford, Illinois native and his sister, Holly, on harmonies and brother, Blake, on bass.

The live version resonated with the dedicated, and the audience nodded and whooped in support of lyrics like “country can be in the middle of the city” and “country ain’t even a place on the map/it’s a place in your heart.” Yet nothing prepared me for the honeyed country emanating from his soul, vocals and guitar-playing. I tweeted that we had Alan Jackson in the building, and he’d changed his name to Mo Pitney.

The rich country baritone first appeared in contrast to his mid-twenties countenance, but he’s just an old soul, havin’ a good ol’ time. Old-timey bluegrass from the mid-west met memorable stories and japes, cross-roading as he regaled us with the fabulous three minute ditty, I Met Merle Haggard Today on “2/4 2013 4:45”, after a“good hot plate of chicken for lunch”.  When he slowed the pace down on the heartfelt Just a Dog, I was quickly in tears about his rescued-canine friendship. And I’m a cat person.

Mo also played the observant A Boy and A Girl Thing and the appreciative-of-his-musical-life Behind This Guitar. The siblings sang their faith-inspired co-write, Give Me Jesus, but all too soon the forty-five minute set was over and the crowd readied for the next act. I popped out to queue for a quick autograph and a hand shake.

I just wish I’d taken a picture with my phone, when I met Mo Pitney that day (but I was at C2C and my storage was full).

Emma Jordan
@dgtlwriter