Mac McAnally is a singer songwriter from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. He recently spoke to Jason Verlinde of the Fretboard Journal, which is one of my favourite podcasts. I’ve been a subscriber of the magazine for a couple of years now and it’s great. Jason is doing great things with that brand, putting up amazing videos and publishing a regular audio podcast as well as producing the best guitar magazine in the business.
Little Brother’s Jam
Back in the noughties, I travelled to Conyers, Georgia every autumn to attend Little Brother’s Acoustic Jam. In 2005 I met Joe Jordan at the jam.
Little Brother would set up a stage area and run an open mic every night of the jam. When Joe got up to play, he played a song called Barney, written by Mac McAnally. I’d never heard of him before, but that song has stayed in my heart over all these years and it still brings a tear to my eye.
Incidentally, it was also Joe who introduced to me the music of John Prine. AND, rather surprisingly, Dougie Maclean’s Caledonia, which he’d learned from a mutual friend, George Duff. I have very fond memories of Joe’s singing that song to me and making me feel wistful for my homeland.
Mac McAnally wrote Barney when he was in his late teens. It’s on his first album, released in 1977, self titled Mac McAnally. It reminds me a little of Suzanne Vega’s The Queen and the Solider, not in terms of content, but in terms of how a teenager can show such a depth of wisdom and maturity in their songwriting.
Mac McAnally Podcast Link
This week the Jason of the Fretboard Journal put out an interview he recorded with Mac and it was a real treat to listen to . He talks about his songwriting process and his instruments, but the biggest thing I got from it was his gratitude. He had a big heart attack when he was 60 and now every day is a bonus.
This link will take you through to the Mac McAnally podcast episode page on the Fretboard Journal.
Joe Jordan plays Barney, by Mac McAnally
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Cams is a guitar enthusiast living on the Isle of Arran in Scotland with his wife and two teenaged children. He has a fine collection of instruments and enjoys playing live around the island.