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Mitchell Tenpenny

Mitchell Tenpenny

Mitchell Tenpenny blends the laid-back, party-hearty vibe of bro-country with a seriously soulful streak. Elements of this mix could be heard on his 2015 indie debut, Black Crow, but he refined his sound and stripped away some of the rootsier influences for 2017's Linden Ave, which was anchored by the nostalgic "Truck I Drove in High School." That album led to a major-label deal with Columbia Nashville, which released the Telling All My Secrets LP in 2018. "Drunk Me," the record's first single, turned into his breakthrough hit, reaching number two on Billboard's Country Airplay chart. Tenpenny later consolidated the success of "Drunk Me" with Midtown Diaries, a 2021 mini-LP that showcased his romantic side, followed immediately by the Christmas album Naughty List. With 2022's This Is the Heavy, he accentuated the heavier elements of his music, an aspect the hit single "Truth About You" only hinted at.

A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Tenpenny grew up in a city and home surrounded by music. His grandmother was Donna Hilley, a president of Sony/ATV Publishing, and through her, he had brushes with such Music City heavyweights as Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman. Inspired by their writing, he decided to pursue country music as a vocation. Picking up the guitar at the age of 13, Tenpenny learned how to play and write. After graduating with a music business degree from Middle Tennessee State University, he set out on his professional career. In April 2015, Creation Lab Records released his debut, Black Crow, a record that showed a distinct heartland rock bent -- something that was evident from the single "Love & Rock n' Roll" -- and featured cameos from the SteelDrivers on the single "Cane's Creek" and Ace Frehley and Brian "Head" Welch on an alternate version of the title track.

As he worked on establishing himself as a performer, Tenpenny gained attention as a songwriter in 2016. He co-wrote Granger Smith's Billboard Country Airplay Top Ten hit "If the Boot Fits" along with Jon Langston's single "All Eyes on Us." Toward the end of the year, he collaborated on songs for Hurricane, the debut album from Nick Fradiani, the singer who won the 14th season of American Idol.

Tenpenny signed with Riser House Entertainment in 2017, releasing "Alcohol You Later" in April before the EP Linden Ave arrived in July. Both the single and EP showed him following a more soulful direction, one that was reminiscent of the country-R&B of Sam Hunt and Thomas Rhett. His Riser-issued eponymous 2018 EP included the boozy single "Drunk Me." The track wound up climbing into Billboard's Country Top Ten -- peaking at two on their Country Airplay chart -- and set up the December release of Tenpenny's Riser House/Columbia debut, Telling All My Secrets, which debuted at number five on the Top Country Albums chart and even cracked the Billboard 200. Accompanying the album was a re-release of "Alcohol You Later."

Tenpenny issued the single "Anything She Says" in 2019, the first of several non-LP singles released during 2019 and 2020, a string that also included "Can't Go to Church," "Someone You Loved," "Here," and "Broken Up." He also issued the seasonal EP Neon Christmas in 2020. "Bucket List" appeared in early 2021, the first single pulled from Midtown Diaries, a mini-LP that arrived in September. Just a month later, he released his third album and first full-length Christmas set, Naughty List. The slick ballad "Horseshoes and Hand Grenades" heralded the April 2022 arrival of The Low Light Sessions, an EP that showcased his softer side. Tenpenny got harder and louder on This Is the Heavy, an album delivered in September 2022. Its first single, "Truth About You," reached number two on Billboard's Country Airplay charts. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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