Mac McAnally has worn many hats over the past 40-plus years. He's been a sought-after session player in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and in Nashville, a hit songwriter, a solo recording artist and a member of Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer Band.
McAnally adds to a list of solo albums that dates back to 1977 with Once in a Lifetime (out July 31 via Mailboat Records). The self-produced new album includes "Changing Channels," a song the Belmont, Mississippi-via-Red Bay, Alabama native co-wrote with Buffett.
Wide Open Country premieres the richly-told story-song today (July 16) via an acoustic live video.
"There are lots of ways to write songs," McAnally says. "Some are born of pain and some of joy. Some come easy and some beat you up on the way out. 'Changing Channels' came easy and was special in several ways. It was written in an amazing place with a great writer and even greater friend (Buffett). He had the title taken from one of his short stories and his trademark saltwater vantage point. I had a guitar and probably not much else but by golly I was there. I have always loved this song and will always remember what a great time we had getting it done."
The song blends Buffett's way with nautical-themed words with McAnally's talent as a singer-songwriter and guitarist. The latter skill earned him ten Country Music Association (CMA) Musician of the Year awards.
McAnally compositions have been covered over the years by Buffett ("It's My Job"), Alabama ("Old Flame"), Steve Wariner ("It's a Crazy World," "Precious Thing"), Ricky Van Shelton ("Crime of Passion"), Sawyer Brown ("All These Years," "Thank God For You," "Cafe on The Corner"), Sammy Kershaw ("Southbound"), Shenandoah ("Two Dozen Roses"), Restless Heart ("Looking Back") and Kenny Chesney ("Down The Road," "Back Where I Come From"). These and other country music hits secured McAnally a spot in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.