Nashville, Tennessee born singer-songwriter Mitchell Tenpenny is one of the fast-rising artists in the genre following the success of his breakthrough single ‘Drunk Me’ in 2018. While follow-up singles ‘Alcohol You Later’, ‘Anything She Says’ featuring Seaforth and ‘Broken Up’ haven’t hit the heights that ‘Drunk Me’ did, the first two have both been certified Gold in the US. Tenpenny’s major label debut album ‘Telling All My Secrets’ peaked at number 5 on the US Country chart and his current collaboration with Chris Young, ‘At The End of a Bar’, is garnering plenty of attention.
Three years on from his major label debut, Tenpenny is following the current trend of putting out not-quite-a-full-album with his 8-track EP ‘Midtown Diaries’. Rather criminally it doesn’t include the track ‘Can’t Go To Church’, Tenpenny’s finest song yet, but it does feature ‘Bucket List’, ‘To Us It Did’ and ‘Truth About You’, all of which have been released to create buzz ahead of the EP. Of those three, it’s ‘Truth About You’, which has gained the most traction and the mid-tempo rock-leaning Country track is certainly one of the strongest on this collection, as well as being perfect for the current landscape at radio.
‘Midtown Diaries’ is definitely more of a continuation of ‘Telling All My Secrets’, with Tenpenny sticking to what’s worked for him so far. Honestly, I can’t blame him because he’s found his sweet spot combining his husky vocals with rock-tinged Country. ‘To Us It Did’ is Tenpenny at the top of his game, navigating through a pared back verse before unleashing his inner rocker during the soaring chorus.
There is more to Tenpenny than his rock side though. The acoustic-led ‘Good Thing’, while giving in to a rockier chorus, allows you to really hear the nuances in his voice as he sings about trust in a relationship, while ‘Girl’s Love’ takes a funky turn leading you straight to the dancefloor for the album’s most unique moment.
Elsewhere on the set, rock does dominate (not that that’s a bad thing). The shimmering mid-tempo rock of ‘Don’t Let Me Let You’ features an epic guitar solo, ‘Bucket List’ embraces the ethos of living every day as if it’s your last, and ‘I Can’t Love You Anymore’ incorporates a bit of banjo into an epic love song. The collection closes with ‘She Hates Me Too’, a piano-led moment that mixes an R&B verse delivery with hard-hitting lyrics about a break-up.
Mitchell Tenpenny, for me, is one of the more exciting male artists in Country right now. It would be nice to hear him completely push out of his comfort zone, and there are signs of that here. For now though, he’s building a solid reputation with his brand of Country rock and once he can get back to international touring, I’m certain he’s going to build a significant fanbase here in the UK. ‘Midtown Diaries’ is a strong collection and it continues the journey he started with ‘Telling All My Secrets’ nicely.
Track list: 1. To Us It Did 2. Good Thing 3. I Can’t Love You Any More 4. Bucket List 5. Truth About You 6. Girl’s Love 7. Don’t Let Me Let You 8. She Hates Me Too Record label: Sony Music Release date: 10th September 2021 Buy ‘Midtown Diaries EP’ now