His show may not be flashy, but country music artist and Cherry Valley native Mo Pitney keeps his audience entertained with his honest lyrics and music that he hopes will move them.
The up-and-coming performer will bring his band and unique country sound to DeKalb’s Egyptian Theatre on Saturday night.
“We’re not geared toward lighting or video screens, but we’re geared toward raw music. We try to make music that moves us, and we want people to step into that world with us, to celebrate music with us,” Pitney said.
Pitney, 24, described his music as traditional country music with a softer, more acoustic sound, which he said comes from his singer-songwriter influences, like James Taylor. He said his lyrics are “across the board,” but are heavily influenced by his strong Christian faith.
Some of Pitney’s biggest musical influences include old-time country artists Merle Haggard, Jon Williams and Roger Miller, but he also counts Randy Newman and Rockford’s own Cheap Trick among his favorites. The variety of artists that influence his songwriting gives Pitney’s music a “different flavor” than other country musicians.
“I want to take a different approach, lyrically, than depressing country music and make it more positive,” he said. “I want it to be real. I want my music to address the hurt, loneliness, brokenness and loss that we all feel as we go through life, but I want to point to the only hope I have found.”
Pitney has fond memories of growing up in Cherry Valley, where he lived with his family until they moved to Nashville about six years ago. It was there where he discovered his love for hunting and fishing, and learned to be independent.
“It was a safe place, so my mom would let me take my bike and stay out all hours with friends, so I was very independent and figured things out on my own,” he said with a laugh. “That served me well when I started traveling and was away from family and friends, and out of my comfort zone. Cherry Valley helped me hone my independence quickly, which got me out of the mindset of being stuck in one place.”
Pitney’s father is a steel guitar player, so he learned from a young age that music was an important part of his life. He began playing drums at age 8, and then picked up the guitar at 13 after listening to Johnny Cash records.