By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
BELMONT – Mac McAnally is in the business of making people happy.
He makes his fellow musicians happy, so much so that he’s been nominated and won the Country Music Association’s Musician of the Year award for five consecutive years.
“Five is just as hard to explain as the one that came before it,” McAnally said in a phone interview with the Daily Journal. “I am very grateful.”
In turn, he hopes to make his fans happy at his upcoming show at The Lyric in Tupelo.
“I try to remember songs people asked for that came through the autograph line. I’m trying to get those into the setlist,” he said.
The Belmont native has made a name for himself as a member of Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band and he’s worked with the likes of Kenny Chesney, Roy Orbison, Travis Tritt, Amy Grant and Hank Williams Jr.
Each day, he has a simple goal: Work on music.
“When I got up this particular morning I was working on a song with that Kenny Chesney and I have been working on,” he said. “Music tends to breed more music. It’s going in my head all the time. … My music is pretty much an every-day thing for me – even Christmas morning, the first thing I do is play Christmas music to remind myself of my mom. She used to do that for us.”
The new year will bring even more music into McAnally’s world.
He’ll produce a Buffett tribute album, continue his work with Chesney and maybe, just maybe, get to work on a new solo CD.
“I have a pile of Mac songs to make a Mac record. That’s always on the back burner. I do my stuff in the cracks of time. I’ll try to find some cracks of time to do my record,” he said. “I’ve got a busy and good year doing my favorite thing.”
He’s kicking off the year with his hometown show, which makes sense, because so much of his music is written with North Mississippi in mind.
Tim Warren, who has performed in area bands like Busted Screen Door, will open the show, so it’s a night full of North Mississippi music.
“I think you’ll walk away a little bit prouder to be where we’re from. I’ve got a whole lifetime of music-making that has to be about being proud of where I’m from,” McAnally said. “It’s an act of local patriotism. (The Lyric) is the first place I ever went to see a movie when I was a kid. I’m happy to come and enjoy being at home and share being at home with local folks who know what these songs are about better than anybody else.”
Who: Mac McAnally, Tim Warren
When: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11
Where: The Lyric
Cost: $50, $30
Info: (662) 844-1935, tct.ms