Mac McAnally

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Mac McAnally
Mac McAnally standing on a stage and playing an electric guitar
McAnally in June 2009
Background information
Birth nameLyman Corbitt McAnally Jr.[1]
Born (1957-07-15) July 15, 1957 (age 66)[2]
Red Bay, Alabama, U.S.
OriginBelmont, Mississippi, U.S.
GenresPop, Country
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, session musician, record producer
Instrument(s)Vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin, mandola, piano, keyboards, harmonica, ukulele, Papoose, percussion
Years active1977–present
LabelsAriola, Geffen, RCA, Warner Bros., MCA, DreamWorks Nashville, Mailboat, Show Dog
Formerly ofThe Coral Reefer Band

Lyman Corbitt McAnally Jr. (/ˈmækənæl/; born July 15, 1957), known professionally as Mac McAnally, is an American singer-songwriter, session musician, and record producer. In his career, he has recorded ten studio albums and eight singles. Two of his singles were hits on the Billboard Hot 100, and six more on the Hot Country Songs chart. His ninth chart entry came in late 2008-early 2009 as a guest vocalist on Kenny Chesney's cover of his 1990 single "Down the Road".

In addition to his work as a solo artist, McAnally has written number-one singles for Alabama and Shenandoah, as well as songs for Sawyer Brown and T.G. Sheppard among others. He also holds a number of credits as a session musician, and has produced for Sawyer Brown, Restless Heart, and Jimmy Buffett. McAnally was also a longtime member of Buffett's backing band, the Coral Reefer Band, until Buffett's death in 2023.


Early life and career[edit]

Lyman Corbitt McAnally Jr. was born in Red Bay, Alabama. As a child, he began playing piano and singing in church at the Belmont First Baptist Church in Belmont, Mississippi, and by age fifteen, he had composed his first song.[2] From there, he went on to become a session musician in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. During a session break, McAnally began to perform original material. The producers there encouraged him, and by 1977 he was signed to Ariola Records. His self-titled debut album produced the single "It's a Crazy World" which reached No. 37 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2] Reviewing it in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau said, "although it does often sound pat, as folk stoicism will in a post-folk context, the first side comes across pretty outspoken for a Mississippi singer-songwriter with royalties in the bank—the heroine of one song is a rape victim who murders both assailant and judge after the latter lets off the former. Side two is Joe South."[3]

A second album, No Problem Here, was issued in 1978, followed in 1980 by Cuttin' Corners on RCA Records. These latter two albums produced no chart singles. However, he found success as a songwriter for Jimmy Buffett, in addition to co-writing Alabama's Number One hit "Old Flame".[2]

McAnally continued to record even while writing for Buffett. Mac eventually signed with Geffen Records with two albums (Nothin' but the Truth, which included the single "Minimum Love" which reached No. 41 on the Billboard Hot 100, and Finish Lines) being issued in 1983 and 1988, respectively. He and Walt Aldridge co-wrote Ricky Van Shelton's 1987 single "Crime of Passion".[2]

1990s and 2000s[edit]

In 1990, McAnally signed to Warner Bros. Records, releasing Simple Life that year. This album produced his first Top 40 country hit in the No. 14 "Back Where I Come From." Kenny Chesney would also record McAnally's "Back Where I Come From" for his 1996 album Me and You. Also in 1990, Steve Wariner released a McAnally co-write, the Top Ten hit "Precious Thing."[2] The only other single from Simple Life was the No. 70 "Down the Road", and by year's end, he exited Warner Bros.' roster.

McAnally's seventh studio album, Live and Learn, followed in 1992, producing three low-charting singles. Also that year, he produced Sawyer Brown's album The Dirt Road, and continued to produce almost all of their subsequent albums, in addition to co-writing several of the band's singles between then and the late 1990s, including the Number One "Thank God for You", as well as the Top Five hits "All These Years", "Cafe on the Corner", "The Boys and Me", and "This Time". His second and final release for MCA, 1994's Knots, failed to produce any chart singles, although Linda Davis charted that year with "Company Time", which he wrote. Throughout the 1990s, McAnally also found work as a session musician, playing guitar on several artists' albums, in addition to joining Buffett's road band.

It was not until 1999, when he signed to DreamWorks Records Nashville, that McAnally released his next album.[2] This album, Word of Mouth, also failed to produce any singles. Another album, Semi-True Stories, followed in 2004 on Mailboat Records, the same label to which Buffett is signed. Also in 2004, McAnally and Kyle Lehning produced Restless Heart's reunion album Still Restless, which included covers of three McAnally songs. In 2008, McAnally was awarded Musician of the Year by the Country Music Association. Also in 2008, he participated in the production of the album Psalngs,[4] the debut release of Canadian musician John Lefebvre.

Kenny Chesney covered McAnally's 1990 single "Down the Road" on his 2008 album Lucky Old Sun, as a duet with McAnally. This rendition, released in late 2008 as its second single, became McAnally's first Top 40 country hit since "Back Where I Come From" in 1990. In February 2009, it became his first Number One as a singer. One month later, McAnally signed to Show Dog Nashville, a label owned by Toby Keith.[5] His first single release for the label is "You First". His first album for the label, Down by the River, debuted at No. 56 on the Top Country Albums chart, becoming his first chart entry on that chart since 1990.

In 2011, Mac McAnally released the new album Live in Muscle Shoals on Mailboat Records, recorded in July 2010 at the W. C. Handy Music Festival in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Appearing with him were the Coral Reefer Band, bassist Jim Mayer and drummer Roger Guth.[6] McAnally lives in a home in the River Bluff section in Sheffield, Alabama, on the Tennessee River.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Result
2007 Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Inducted to Hall of Fame[7] Inducted
2008 Country Music Association Awards Musician of the Year Won
2009 Won
Musical Event of the Year — "Down the Road" Nominated
2010 52nd Grammy Awards Best Country Collaboration with Vocals — "Down the Road" Nominated
Country Music Association Awards Musician of the Year Won
2011 Won
2012 Won
2013 Won
2014 Won
2015 Won
2017 Won
2018 Won



Year Album US Country Label
1977 Mac McAnally Ariola
1978 No Problem Here
1980 Cuttin' Corners RCA
1983 Nothing but the Truth Geffen
1988 Finish Lines
1990 Simple Life 63 Warner Bros.
1992 Live and Learn MCA
1994 Knots
1999 Word of Mouth DreamWorks
No Problem Here (re-release)
2004 Semi-True Stories Mailboat
2006 Cuttin' Corners (re-release) Magic
2009 Down by the River 56 Show Dog
2011 Live: In Muscle Shoals 72 Mailboat
2015 A.K.A. Nobody
2017 Southbound: The Orchestra Project
2020 Once in a Lifetime
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country US US AC[8] CAN Country CAN CAN AC
1977 "It's a Crazy World" 37 10 64 Mac McAnally
1978 "Opinion on Love" 47 No Problem Here
1983 "Minimum Love" 41 7 5 Nothin' but The Truth
1990 "Back Where I Come From" 14 18 Simple Life
"Down the Road" 70 73
1992 "Live and Learn" 62 98 Live and Learn
"The Trouble with Diamonds" 72
1993 "Junk Cars" 72 87
"Not That Long Ago"[9]
2009 "You First" Down by the River
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Guest singles[edit]

Year Single Artist Chart Positions Album
US Country US CAN
2008 "Down the Road" (re-recording) Kenny Chesney 1 47 57 Lucky Old Sun

Music videos[edit]

Year Video Director
1990 "Back Where I Come From"
1992 "The Trouble with Diamonds" Michael Salomon
1993 "Not That Long Ago"[10] John Lloyd Miller
1994 "Down the Road"

Songs written or co-written by Mac McAnally[edit]

Title Co-writer Cover Artist Peak Chart Position[11]
"All These Years" Not Applicable Sawyer Brown No. 3 Billboard Country Singles Chart
"Back Where I Come From" Not Applicable Kenny Chesney No. 14 Billboard Country Singles Chart
"The Boys and Me" Mark Miller Sawyer Brown No. 3 Billboard Country Singles Chart
"Cafe on the Corner" Not Applicable Sawyer Brown No. 5 Billboard Country Singles Chart
"Crime of Passion" Walt Aldridge Ricky Van Shelton No. 7 Billboard Country Singles Chart
"Down the Road" Not Applicable Kenny Chesney No. 1 Billboard Country Singles Chart
"I'm Gonna Hurt Her on the Radio" Tom Brasfield David Allan Coe No. 52 Billboard Country Singles Chart
"I'm Gonna Love Her on the Radio" Tom Brasfield Charley Pride No. 13 Billboard Country Singles Chart
"It's My Job" Not Applicable Jimmy Buffett No. 57 Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart
"It's a Crazy World" Not Applicable Self-Recorded No. 37 Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart
"Minimum Love" Jerry Wexler Self-Recorded No. 7 Billboard Adult Contemporary Singles Chart
"Old Flame" Donny Lowery Alabama No. 1 Billboard Country Singles Chart
"One Owner Heart" Walt Aldridge & Tom Brasfield T.G. Sheppard No. 4 Billboard Country Singles Chart
"Opinion on Love" Not Applicable Self-Recorded No. 47 Billboard Adult Contemporary Singles Chart
"Precious Thing" Steve Wariner Steve Wariner No. 8 Billboard Country Singles Chart
"She Put the Sad in All His Songs" Robert Byrne Ronnie Dunn No. 59 Billboard Country Singles Chart
"Southbound" Not Applicable Sammy Kershaw No. 27 Billboard Country Singles Chart
"Thank God for You" Mark Miller Sawyer Brown No. 1 Billboard Country Singles Chart
"This Time" Mark Miller Sawyer Brown No. 2 Billboard Country Singles Chart
"Two Dozen Roses" Robert Byrne Shenandoah No. 1 Billboard Country Singles Chart
"You're My First Lady" Not Applicable T.G. Sheppard No. 2 Billboard Country Singles Chart


  1. ^ Ammerman, Josh. "Mac McAnally: A Biography". The Mississippi Writers and Musicians Project of Starkville High School. Archived from the original on January 18, 2000. Retrieved February 8, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Ankeny, Jason. "Mac McAnally biography". Allmusic. Retrieved February 8, 2008.
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: M". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 7, 2019 – via
  4. ^ "Press for". Archived from the original on August 25, 2011. Retrieved August 28, 2009. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)
  5. ^ Bjorke, Matt (March 1, 2009). "Mac McAnally Signs with Show Dog Records". Roughstock. Archived from the original on March 18, 2009. Retrieved March 27, 2009.
  6. ^ "CMT : News : Mac McAnally Reprises Career in Live in Muscle Shoals". Country Music Television. Retrieved January 4, 2014.
  7. ^ "Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame". Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  8. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2007). Joel Whitburn Presents Billboard Top Adult Songs, 1961–2006. Record Research Incorporated. p. 181. ISBN 9780898201697. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
  9. ^ "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. May 1, 1993.
  10. ^ "CMT : Videos : Mac McAnally : Not That Long Ago". Country Music Television. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
  11. ^ "Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on August 8, 2018. Retrieved June 26, 2015.