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      Mitchell Tenpenny in Athens

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      October 25, 2019

      Friday   8:30 PM

      215 North Lumpkin Street
      Athens, Georgia 30606

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      Mitchell Tenpenny

      with Seaforth
      I wanted to tell a bunch of different stories on this album, but they all had to be authentic and believable to me, says Mitchell Tenpenny. What I was feeling at the time, where I was in my head, whats going on in the world, it all contributed to the end product. The songs that made it were the ones I was sure that I was passionate about getting on therewhat I was proud of, what I really wanted to say.On the heels of his Platinum-certified No. 1 single, Drunk Me, comes Tenpennys major label debut album, Telling All My Secrets. Revealing a wide range of influences and a level of assurance and confidence that comes from already having years of songwriting and touring behind him, the record marks the arrival of an artist recently singled out recently singled out as one of Pandoras Artists to Watch in 2019, MusicRows Next Big Thing honorees, and The Tennesseans Next Nashville Stars for 2019.Of course, these predictions arent all that bold, since Drunk Me has earned more than 170 million on-demand streams and surpassed 1 million certifiable units in the U.S. The singer claims that he knew the song was special as soon as he recorded it.Everything about itthe production, the hook, the performanceit felt like how I wanted to present myself, he says. We dug into that song and made it real cinematic and unusual. On the first playback, it felt like something Whitney Houston might do, and I thought, This is what we need to be doing, this feels right, and it became the foundation of the record.Not that you can ever anticipate the kind of explosive success that Drunk Me has had. You never know whats going to happen, says Tenpenny, but I was confident enough to be OK with it if it failed. I knew I gave it my best, gave it my all. Thats something I learned playing footballmy coach used to say that you cant be afraid to lose. So with this song, I could go in fearless.That sense of clarity is largely a result of the relationship that the Nashville native had with his grandmother, industry veteran and the first female CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Donna Hilley. I was very lucky, says Tenpenny. I got to grow up in this business, see itI saw how my grandmother treated writers, and how important it was to the town. Its a small circle of friends in this industry, and she always treated people right. (This attitude also presumably helped Tenpenny in the albums collaborations with such stellar songwriters as Hillary Lindsey, Devin Dawson and Josh Hoge.)Tenpenny first picked up a guitar at the age of 13, and after graduating with a music business degree from Middle Tennessee State University, he began his professional career. The 2015 Black Crow album featured cameos from the SteelDrivers, Ace Frehley and Brian Head Welch from Korn. In 2017, his Linden Ave. EP made it to No. 6 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.Concurrently, he was seeing success as a songwriter, most notably co-writing Granger Smiths Top 10 hit If the Boot Fits. Along the way, he has toured with the likes of Maren Morris, Jake Owen, Brett Young, Cole Swindell, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Dustin Lynch.Though most of the album was written since the completion of the Mitchell Tenpenny EP, a few of the song go further back. I wrote Goner a long time ago, he says. Thats one of my favorites ever. I gave it my best John Mayer/ Michael Jackson impressionnot that I ever thought, I want to sound like that, but I can hear my own experiences in there, a combination of the music Ive grown up with.Tenpenny embraces the idea that hes part of a new generation of country artists who grew up listening to a diverse range of styles. I never gave much thought about which genre I am, he says. You can hear rock, pop, gospel, but the lyrics always stay to what I am, to Nashville. It would be inauthentic for me to try to be Hank or Waylon or WillieI want to transform and keep creating, I want to hear new, exciting things. We have to be able to change sounds or were going nowhere.The albums final song, Walk Like Him, is the most personal track for Tenpenny. Its the first song I wrote about my dad after his passing, and it took a few years, he says. My family all say that I really do walk like him. I remember I was driving back from a show in the van, the band was all asleep in the back, and it just hit me and I broke downI wrote that hook that night. Ive been wanting to get it off my chest for years, and I wanted the album to end on that emotion. I think anyone who has lost someone can understand the feeling.The momentum for Tenpenny continues as he has recently released his new single Alcohol You Later to country radio. Hes headlining his 12-date Telling All My Secrets Album Release Tour through February, and has already been tapped as an opener for Old Dominions Make It Sweet Tour in 2019.The official line has been that Mitchell Tenpenny wrote 56 songs for the album that became Telling All My Secrets, his Riser House/Columbia Nashville debut, but he admits that it was really several hundred, and that he can feel the growth in his work as he gains more experience. My writing is getting more mature, more honest, he says. When youre younger, youre afraid to sing a lot of things, but as you get older, that wall starts to fall down. Im talking about things that people my age are dealing with on a daily basis, and the best thing is have that vulnerability.Ive seen more, traveled more, and you see the world and learn what people want. As you get older, you get a little wiserIm not saying that Im wise, but Im learning every day, and that comes out in the songs.

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