"Good guys finish last". Shit is so true I may get it tattooed on my back, (I'm just kidding mom). Almost always girls want the guys who they know are trouble and will turn their life upside down. Ironically enough, then they will find a "good guy" to make them feel better after a fight or break up. That guy will be the shoulder to cry on, the one to have the conversation which ends with "I swear, I'm never going back to him, he's no good". Fast forward a week and this dumb ass is back with that asshole and posting pictures on Instagram. This whole dynamic is something that will always boggle my mind. Wait another week or so and she’ll be back crying on your shoulder and you guessed it.... with messed up make up.
Get To Know Rob
"For sure dude, I'm from south Georgia around Savannah. I grew up in Statesboro and that's where Georgia Southern is. In high school I would sneak around and get into all the college bars to see Luke Bryan and Brantley Gilbert when they were on the rise. I don't want to say that's necessarily how I got into Country Music, but I started playing guitar around middle school, as a hobby. Growing up in church I played guitar - didn't sing or anything. It’s weird, I didn't get into Country Music until I later into high school and on into college. My mom was a rocker and loved to listen to Def Leppard and things like that. You wouldn't expect that from this sweet old lady back in Georgia. And my dad, when we were in the car, we would listen to Motown - Earth, Wind & Fire, The Temptations, stuff like that. Somewhere along the long I really got into Pop Rock, something like Third Eye Blind, Matchbox Twenty, that kind of stuff. Then to be cool, I got into Rap and Hip Hop. Looking back, I'm so happy that I had all of those musical influences and saw and heard things from different angles. Like I went from singing Christian music to all that other stuff. I'm so happy I fell in love with Country Music when I got older, because I appreciated it more. I know it's not the traditional story of growing up. I know if you asked around, it's a lot of "I grew up listening to Erich Church or George Strait...". For me, the first Country artist I listened to was my buddy Chris Cagle. Hearing Chris got me digging into the rest of the genre and it was around that time I was sneaking into concerts. I was just playing at a buddies house or something and there was a manager there. He came up to me and said "you really need to start playing out" and I didn't really process it at that point. Sure enough, the next week he had me out playing on a Tuesday night and the rest was history. I started playing all the south Georgia bars, the lower SEC bar circuit. In college, I met Cole Swindell. Throughout college, we were in the same fraternity and have always kept in touch. When he was getting big and I was finishing up with school, I got to open up some shows for him. I was also lucky enough to open for other acts like Florida Georgia Line and Sam Hunt. After college I was really set on pursuing music and moved to Nashville. The first guys I became friends with were Ray Fulcher and Luke Combs. I busted my butt for 6 years. Didn't have the initial success where you get the attention and then you're off to the races, but I'm thankful for that. It keeps me hungry and reminds me to enjoy the journey. In reality, while 2020 has been tough for everybody, for me it's been one of my best years. Luke (Combs) gave me the opportunity to write songs for 50 Egg Music. I’ve been fortunate enough to write with the “best of the best” like Jonathan Singleton and that crew."
2020 Wasn't promising for many people, but Pennington found success
On November 20th, 2020 Rob released his first song in over a year and came back swinging. In this absolute heater, Pennington uses Messed Up Make Up as a metaphor for a girl just getting out of a fight or break up. It is a witty word play from a powerful group of Pennington, Ray Fulcher and Chris Rogers (Southerland). Thesong really pulls you in with verses like "so how many times you gonna let him leave you high and dry and hit rewind" and "baby that maybelline ain't made to be running down your cheeks". This is a complete song, start to finish. And Rob's vocals really shine on this track. Excited for more music from Pennington in 2021.
Inspiration Behind "Messed Up Make Up"
Written By: Ray Fulcher, Rob Pennington & Chris Rogers
Produced By: Grady Saxman
"Yeah, so this is actually a 4 year old song. I wrote it with Ray Fulcher and Chris Rogers (who is half of Southerland). We are all Georgia boys, so when we moved to Nashville we had that common connection. I don't really remember what the initial idea was, but I remember going in there - I hope I'm not throwing Ray under the bus, but I think he was in a rough spot in a relationship - and tossing the idea around of making up. I brought that up because I was listening to "Black Tears" which is a song on one of (Jason) Aldean's albums. When Ray was telling us about his situation, he said something like "it's just tough to make up with all this distance". It was a long distance relationship or something and Chris yelled out "that's messed up, ain't it”! That's where we came up with the title "Messed Up Make Up". As they say, the rest is history. I think it's the story of good guys do win sometimes. It's always fun to write with those guys."
Q & A With Rob
Q: If you could go back 5-10 years, what advice would you give your younger self?
A: "Oh wow...I think I would say that you go through trials and tribulations for a reason. I'm a Christian guy, and I think God has a path. There were times in my life I would sit there and be upset about whatever, but in perspective to most people you got a pretty dang good life. I'm thankful now, but I wish back then I was as well. The things that I went through built character and with some patience it will all pay off. I would just tell myself to be thankful and stay strong through all the tough times."
Q: Who are some artists and songwriters who have helped shape your music?
A: "I will start right off the bat with Cole Swindell. Back 7 years ago he was showing me songs that, to this day, may not have been cut, but were some of the best songs I've ever heard. I love listening to Ben Hayslip songs. I haven't had the pleasure of writing with him yet but hoping that will be on the calendar soon. Also Hillary Lindsey’s stuff is just amazing. To see all the lyrical genius behind each verse is incredible. On a new scale that is changing the game, is Michael Hardy. I've met him a few times. Man, his mind is in a different world with just the ideas and phrasing that is unreal. I love his songwriting. These are the songwriters I really try and capture when I am creating a song."
Q: What has been a really memorable moment in music which has stuck out to you?
A: "I really think Eric Church being named Entertainer of the Year was a memorable moment. He should have been picked like the last 5 years or however many years he's been doing it. Just watching him perform! You say what’s a moment that really draws your attention... when I would sneak into the bar Legends and watch him play! I've seen him play when I was in the last row of Nissan Stadium and the third row up front at Bridgestone. Every time he plays "These Boots" it's unbelievable. I'm getting chills just talking about it. People take off a boot and hold it up. That is just a moment that will always stick with me. When Eric Church performs, it demands your attention and is something you have to experience for yourself."
Q: What is a song/s you wish you would have written?
A: "Man this is so tough. I really like the deep cuts. One of my favorite songs ever is on Jason Aldeen’s 2007 Relentless album, "Back in This Cigarette". It pinpoints a certain moment in your life with an ex-girlfriend or high school sweetheart and wanting to go back in time. I love those songs that have crazy metaphors that nobody ever thinks about. That one always gets me. The other one is probably "If Heaven" by Andy Griggs. "If heaven was a train it would sure be a fast one...", the whole song and the hook is incredible. I could go on for days."