Chart-topping recording artist, accomplished producer, hit songwriter and studio owner Mac McAnally marks another note in history with a record-breaking eight consecutive wins as the Country Music Association’s Musician of the Year. The achievement, which bests his own previous number of wins record from last year, was revealed earlier today in a pre-broadcast ceremony for the 49th Annual CMA Awards.
On stage, Mac said to the room full of his peers, “I’m a lucky man to be in Music City to get to strum up and down with the guys I’m nominated with. So many great players in town, it’s the best pool of musicians in the world and I’m a tadpole that’s happy to be here. Thank y’all very much, thanks CMA for recognizing the musicians behind the corners sometimes. God Bless.”
He later reflected, “Eight years in a row I’ve been honored by my fellow pickers and by the CMA. Unbelievable especially if you know my work. Truly humbling. Thanks all!”
McAnally was first honored with the Musician of the Year award in 2008, and has won every year since. The first person to ever receive the award was Chet Atkins, in 1988. Beyond being one of the most respected guitar players and vocalists in Nashville, he has also been nominated for a CMA Award as an artist. In 2009, he and Kenny Chesney were up for Musical Event of the Year for “Down The Road,” a duet that rocketed to No. 1 two decades after Mac wrote and recorded it himself as a solo artist.
This year started with Mac performing on NPR’s Mountain Stage with Larry Groce. With concert dates with Jimmy Buffett as part of the Coral Reefer Band as well as solo shows throughout the year, McAnally also finished his new, long awaited studio album, A.K.A. Nobody, which was released on Mailboat Records in September. Sung, performed, and produced by the much beloved session ace, all but one of its 15 songs were written by McAnally, either on his own or with illustrious co-writers including Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown, Sonny Landreth, Chris Stapleton, Al Anderson, and others.
A.K.A. Nobody is a rare achievement — a rainbow of styles illuminating McAnally’s singular gifts that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted as, “… no fluke for an artist who can deftly master just about any style and whose songwriting is both deeply personal, yet remarkably – and intimately – relatable.”
McAnally has also written several No. 1 hits, beginning with Alabama’s “Old Flame.” His star shines even brighter among music business insiders. For years a first-call musician in both Nashville and Muscle Shoals, he has amassed vast session credits with George Strait, Martina McBride, Dolly Parton, Keith Whitley, George Jones, Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Billy Joel, Trisha Yearwood, Reba … really, it’s probably easier to list who Mac hasn’t played with since
he started doing studio dates in the late ’70s. With more work in the studio currently in production, Mac continues on the road performing his own solo dates as well as joining up with Jimmy Buffett and The Coral Reefers.