Mitchell Tenpenny Interview

Nashville-based songwriter turned country star, Mitchell Tenpenny is following up on last year’s successful run of shows with Luke Bryan by hitting the road with megastar Jason Aldean this summer for one of the hottest country tickets in 20231 The tour stops in Northeast Ohio at Blossom Music Center next Thursday, July 20 in its first week on the road! {Complete show and ticket information}

Tenpenny has made a significant splash on the country scene, having amassed more than 1.5 BILLION streams, making a considerable impact on FM radio, and putting on energetic live shows nationwide! He was also nominated for both CMT and ACM Awards in 2019 and made history on the Billboard charts with two separate #1 singles (with “Truth About You” and “At the End of a Bar”), second in the record books behind only the legendary Willie Nelson!

He’s on the road in support of his new 20-song release, ‘This Is the Heavy’ (2022; Riser House Entertainment/Columbia Nashville), and will be performing songs from the new record and the hits fans know and love.

Tenpenny phoned into CleveRock’s hotline to discuss his upcoming tour, airwave and streaming success, his background in the music business, his ‘Tenpenny Fund’ that assists cancer patients, and more!

CleveRock: You are hitting the road with Jason Aldean starting this Friday (7/14). You have had great success with your songs and previous tours. How exciting is it for you to soon be performing these tunes in front of 15-20 thousand fans every night?

Mitchell Tenpenny: To say I am excited is an understatement. I’ve been such a fan of Jason Aldean forever, and so this tour is finally here! We’ve been rehearsing all week for this tour. I’m about to head over and finish it up after this interview. it’s here! We’re ready to go. I can’t wait. This is our first direct support tour slot. Last year, we get to do Luke Bryan, but we were, the first opener, which was an amazing tour but this year, to do direct support and then having the two #1 hits last year, to play and then a new song that’s working its way up, we couldn’t be more excited. It’s the best feeling in the world. It’s a little anxious and a little nervous, but, you know, I’m ready to get out there and do it.

CleveRock: Unlike rock and pop concerts, country music fans come to the shows and are loud and excited about the support acts. They pack the venue early. Can you speak about what that means to you as a performer?

Tenpenny: Man, that’s always been the coolest part about it. Seeing people come in early, especially at the very opening slot like last year at Luke Bryan, you know, you’re so nervous. People are coming in, getting beer, people got jobs, too, and like, ‘Are they gonna be there?’ Or, you know, who are you gonna play to? Is it going to be an empty crowd? Are people going to care? Country music fans love country music, and they were showing up early and it was just so cool to see that. I don’t know. I think it’s just something that is part of the country genre. People want to discover new music too. I think people are hungry, to discover new music, and then hopefully, you make a little impact. We’re lucky enough to have a hit on the radio called “Drunk Me” that hopefully some people know coming in. It’s a combination of a little bit of being familiar, but also people just are hungry to want to see new artists and see the show. That’s what’s really cool about country music. I noticed that same thing when we did a tour with Old Dominion. I’ve toured with Dustin Lynch. People show up early for country. I don’t know. It’s pretty special, man!

CleveRock: You recently released a 20-song album and have had a plethora of hits in recent years. Given that you will have a limited amount of stage time as a support act, is it difficult for you to make selections for your setlist on this tour?

Tenpenny: Yes, definitely. It depends on the artist, too. Jason Aldean is more rock, and I love that. That’s where I come from. I come from rock bands and stuff, too. I mean, I’m born and raised in Nashville and grew up as country as it gets, but I love rock music. For this setlist, we’re trying to rock it up a little bit more, you know, turn up the guitars and picking songs for that. We pull a couple of songs and might slow down the pace of the setlist. I mean, you definitely think about that, for sure. And then, you have to play the hits. You have to play the songs that got you there. I do. I am always for that. When I go see bands that I love and they don’t play a hit or something, one of the hits that made me fall in love, I’m always like, ‘Man, why are y’all doing that?’ Trust me, I want to play new music. But you can do that, too. You just still have to play the songs that got you there!

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