• Audra .A. Russell

A MUSICIAN: Guitarist (Jimmy Buffett's), Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Legend.

Rolling Stones: Mac McAnally was named Musician of the Year for an eighth consecutive time at the 49th CMA Awards. Jason Davis/Getty Images

Mac McAnally may be one of (if not the) most humble people in the Music/Entertainment industry. Here's why:

He left his small home town (really small) of Belmont, MS to follow his calling: MUSIC ... at a time in history when football players were the rising stars in the South, and marching band was not.

He has since broken the record for the most CMA Musician of the Year Awards according to the Country Music Association: 8 years in a row.

He not only writes / plays / sings / produces for some of the industry's best, but he has his own large and loyal fan base.

When he is not on stage with Jimmy Buffett, he can be found on his own stage sharing his music. He'll likely have multiple guitars with him, many meaningful songs, and many fans.

He reaches the top over and over- yet remains most humble, genuine, and grateful. ​

It is his ability to stay humble, genuine, and "Real" amid the success as singer/songwriter/producer for the best in the industry that stands out. It is not often you meet people like this in the world.

He deserves to be at the top.


Belmont, MS is 'back where they come from'. I can assure you this is a town that could be painted into the pages of a novel set in the South. My husband is from Belmont, MS and we found many pictures, yearbooks, and more when clearing out the family estate (grade school marching band included / Mac, too).

Mac left Belmont to follow his calling, but he is still a legend there.

If you talk to the family that lives on the corner of 'Mac's park' (our kids call it), the park dedicated in honor of Mac, you will be told stories of how sincere Mac has been since he was a kid. You'll also learn about how loud he used to play his music outside when he was little and that he still apologizes to the local residents for this.

His God given talent has risen to the top again - and again. While he may not be a household name like Taylor Swift, Toby Mac, or Keith Urban he works with all of them and is held in the highest esteem by the best. Thus, chosen to be CMA Musician of the Year as voted by the industry's very own.

When he played in Atlanta earlier this year and, it was clear within a moment when we met him...he deserves to be at the top.

You don't have to be a country music fan (I am not known as one) to appreciate what Mac produces. Each song from him seems to have deeper meaning - whether for him or for the world. I don't believe he would write it otherwise.

"I have about 70 guitars. I'm not a collector. Some of them are cheap. Sometimes you pick a guitar up and feel like there are songs in them."​ -Mac McAnally

I don't know if he finds the music, or if the music finds him. He is an inspired, gifted musician.


Thankful for people like this in the world. They follow their passion and purpose and set bright examples that light the way for others to appreciate.

Small towns can produce big stars. ​

From Rolling Stones: "Songwriter Spotlight: Mac McAnally on CMA Dominance and Chesney Hits":

"Down the Road," Kenny Chesney "He's a great friend and he's been a great ambassador of a couple of my best songs," says McAnally of the superstar. Chesney called him up one day and asked him to come in the studio the next day. When McAnally wondered what might be on the agenda, Chesney said, 'We're going to cut one of your songs and I don't care which one.' "That may be as nice of a compliment as a songwriter can get.

"That's the first time I've ever been part of a Number One record as a singer. He was nice enough to allow me to ride up the charts with him." - Mac McAnally in Rolling Stones

"With a Straight Face," from AKA Nobody

"Something like [this song], I can't really take credit for. I am very grateful that I got to be the filter of where that came through,"

"I'm certainly not qualified to be a spokesperson for any cause, I just wanted my friends — and anybody that suffers in any kind of way that's an underdog — to know that I have compassion for them and root for them.” McAnally envisions the song having a wide reach. "If Adele or Beyoncé or Taylor Swift wants to sing that song, they can change the world with it."

In the small world - (or small town in this case), Mac's best friend whom he wrote "With a Straight Face" about is the person that taught my husband to play drums back in Belmont, MS years ago.

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