Hours before Mitchell Tenpenny played his first ever sold out show in New York City at the Mercury Lounge, he took the stage at Nash FM 94.7 Hackensack Meridian Health Stage 17 to play an intimate acoustic set for some lucky fans. Backed by a guitarist and a background vocalist who just so happens to be his younger brother, Tenpenny was strumming along to his own acoustic guitar. Tenpenny played four songs from his self-titled debut EP, as well as a brand new song off of his upcoming full-length album, which he revealed is just about done and just has to be put through the proper steps before it can be released.
Introducing his first song, Tenpenny gave a backstory on how this song came to be and that he wrote this song with fellow singer/songwriter Devin Dawson. “I remember we were just kinda talking about that first car or truck you get where it might be a piece of junk but you still think you’re king of the world and you get to drive, get away from mom and dad, get in a little trouble and so we wrote a song about that and it’s called “Truck I Drove In High School.”
“Mixed Drinks” was up next on his setlist and Tenpenny told the audience he had written this song with Walker McGuire member, Jordan Walker when they were fresh out of a writing session in Nashville and decided to go to a bar called Losers to kill some time while traffic dispersed. “We saw this girl sitting in the side by herself and she kept looking at her cell phone and she’d put it down and rip a shot of vodka and I could tell she was dealing with heartbreak, she was dealing with something and we wanted to write a song about that.” The very next day, they went into the writer’s room and this song was written.
Tenpenny then decided to give the audience a little taste of what’s coming on his full-length album by playing a brand new song called “Telling All My Secrets.” This song was written with his buddy Dallas Wilson, conveying the message that guys will always find a girl who finally makes them open up. He said, “Guys try to play tough all the time but we know who runs the world and the house, especially. It’s about that one girl where you can finally just let loose.”
Nash FM 94.7’s DJ, Katie Neal, chatted with Tenpenny about the reason he got into songwriting in the first place. The singer-songwriter shared the story of his grandmother being the president of Sony publishing for thirty years. Growing up and seeing his grandmother work in that side of the business, made him fall in love with it. His grandmother even introduced him to a few songwriters when he was just a kid. Sharing a sweet memory with the audience: “I remember her introducing me to Bobby Braddock and Carly Putnam, who wrote “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” as a kid and saying ‘these are the guys that wrote that song’ and I just thought that was the coolest thing in the world. I remember after that day, I just wanted to be a songwriter.” He gives all of the credit getting to where he is today to his grandmother, she filled him with the knowledge he needed to succeed in each step, teaching him to learn how to play all of his own instruments and recording his own demos before anybody else in the industry was doing that.
Before playing his last two songs, Neal has artists leave a message to their future selves when they predict the artists will play the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden as a bit called Garden Goals. Tenpenny’s message to himself was “Mitchell, don’t mess up, don’t fall down or off the stage and have fun man, enjoy it.”
“Alcohol You Later” was up next and so he told the backstory of this song as well. He was sitting in a bar in Nashville when a guy with a very country accent said “I’ll call you later” to his buddy and he thought it sounded like alcohol you later. “I wrote it down really quick and went into the room the next day and we ended up writing this song.”
Before ending his set, Tenpenny took a moment to thank his fans for showing up and supporting him and his music, “Getting to hear your song and people sing it back all over the country has been the most humbling experience in the world, such a thing that I am so grateful for.” Ending the show with his first ever single to county radio, “Drunk Me,” Tenpenny shared, “I wrote this song about a heartbreak. I wanted to put a different twist on it, why someone might not have to stop drinking forever, but just for a little bit to stand a chance of getting over somebody, where every time you pick up that bottle, all you do is make another mistake.” The single is currently about to enter the top 20 on the country radio charts.
Watch the full live video from Nash FM 94.7’s Facebook below:
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