Behind the Song: “At The End of The Bar” By Chris Young, Mitchell Tenpenny

On August 5, Chris Young released his highly-anticipated third studio album, Famous Friends—his most collaborative album to date. The breakthrough country star dropped the title track as a single in November 2020 and it continued to gain momentum well into the new year. The duet with Kane Brown took home CMT’s Collaborative Video of the Year award in June. By July, “Famous Friends” became Young’s 12th career No. 1.

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The upbeat anthem introduces a spanning collection of country songs. Another album highlight, “At The End Of The Bar,” featuring Mitchell Tenpenny, exhibits Young’s artistic dexterity. He and Tenpenny wrote the track with Chris DeStefano amidst Nashville’s ice storm shut down in February.

The writer trio had a date on the books, and when the snow started falling Young reached out to Tenpenny about potentially rescheduling the write. In an interview with Kelleigh Bannen on Apple Music’s Today’s Country Radio he explains, “For a couple of days, it was hard to leave your driveway here. So I hit him up day three, which is when we were supposed to write and was like, ‘Hey man, do you want to cancel?'”

Young continues, He goes, ‘I’ve got this FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) of what if we’re going to write something really cool today?’ I was like, ‘I feel you, I’m down, I’m good to go, but I just don’t want you to feel like you have to go if you need to reschedule.’ He was like, ‘No, let’s go do it.'”

He credits his co-writer for keeping the date because when the three got together that snow day, they were talking about how Young and Tenpenny met. In the same interview, he recounts, “I was like, ‘Oh, I mean, we were sitting there the other day at the end of a bar and Mitchell just goes, ‘That’s the song.’ And I’m like,’ What? And I’m normally really good about hearing people in conversation say something that I’m like, ‘Oh, I can twist that into a song title.’ And I missed that one completely.”

DeStefano’s co-production takes the song in a different direction than more pop-steeped songs like “Famous Friends,” allowing Young’s vocals to shine on the searing new track.

Listen to “At The End Of The Bar” here.

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