Songcraft: Spotlight on Songwriters Podcast

Shane McAnally

Ep. 121 - Shane McAnally 

"Follow Your Arrow" - Modern Country's Standard Bearer


Scott and Paul put in a plug for Pearl Snap Studios!

PART TWO - 3:02 mark
The guys have a conversation about some of the worst cover songs of all time.

PART THREE - 12:06 mark
Paul and Scott get together with Shane McAnally to discuss his truly phenomenal career.

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Paul and Scott head over to Shane's Los Angeles home to get his thoughts on being in a band with LeAnn Rimes when they were little kids; why he used to pray that God would give him another dream other than songwriting; how he had to wrestle with questions of authenticity and sexual identity to discover his artistic voice; the way that Kenny Chesney anointed him that opened the floodgates of commercial success; who he calls his favorite singer of all time; which of his hits he was most shocked was released as a single; what he thinks of the critics who say “Body Like a Back Road” drifted too far from country’s traditions; which of his songs he suspects other songwriters don’t like; the reason 
The Book of Mormon musical had a huge influence on him; and why joining the cast of NBC's Songland was so fulfilling.

With 40 #1 singles to his credit in the last decade, Shane McAnally is already one of the most successful country songwriters and producers of all time. After a brief career as an artist he reinvented himself as a behind-the-scenes hitmaker when Lee Ann Womack found success with his song “Last Call.” The floodgates soon opened with a steady stream of #1 hits, including “Somewhere with You” and “Come Over” for Kenny Chesney, “Alone with You” for Jake Owen, “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” for Luke Bryan, The Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two,” and “Downtown” by Lady Antebellum.

Industry and critical recognition quickly followed Shane’s commercial success when Miranda Lambert’s recording of “Mama’s Broken Heart” and Kacey Musgraves’ “Merry Go ‘Round” were concurrently nominated for a Best Country Song Grammy, as well as for CMA Song of the Year. “Merry Go ‘Round” won the category and Shane was named the ACM Songwriter of the Year.

Many of his songs have gone on to be recognized by the ACM, CMA, and Grammy awards, including “American Kids” by Kenny Chesney, “Take Your Time” by Sam Hunt, “Vice” by Miranda Lambert, “Drinkin’ Problem” by Midland, “Female” by Keith Urban, “Follow Your Arrow” and “Space Cowboy” by Kacey Musgraves, and Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road,” which set a new record by spending 34 weeks at number one on the Billboard country chart and was nominated by the CMA for Song of the Year two years in a row.

Other highlights from Shane’s extensive song catalog include “Say You Do” and “Different for Girls” for Dierks Bentley; “Gonna Wanna Tonight” for Chase Rice; “Young & Crazy” for Frankie Ballard; “Stay a Little Longer” for Brothers Osborne; “Wild Child” for Kenny Chesney; “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” for Keith Urban; “I Met a Girl” for William Michael Morgan; “T-Shirt,” “Unforgettable,” and “Marry Me” for Thomas Rhett; “If I Told You” for Darius Rucker; “Written in the Sand” and “Make it Sweet” for Old Dominion; “Burn Out” for Midland, “Love Ain’t” for the Eli Young Band; and “Down to the Honkytonk” for Jake Owen.

The list of additional artists who’ve recorded his songs includes Reba McEntire, Florida Georgia Line, Ashley Monroe, Kelly Clarkson, Sheryl Crow, Hunter Hayes, Tim McGraw, Sara Evans, Little Big Town, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Maren Morris, Trace Adkins, Tracy Lawrence, Kelsea Ballerini, and George Strait.

Shane has been nominated for the ACM Songwriter of the Year award six out of the last seven years, and has won the honor twice. He’s a three-time Grammy winner and currently stars as a mentor on the NBC television show Songland, where he works with up-and-coming writers to craft material for artists like John Legend,, The Jonas Brothers, Meghan Trainor, and Aloe Blacc.

Songcraft's Shane McAnally Playlist: Spotify users can select the song you'd like to hear below, or simply start the player and enjoy a selection of Shane's great songs. If you don't have a Spotify account, follow the prompts to sign up for free. Click this link to take you directly to the playlist in the Spotify web player.