Down By The River

Mac McAnally

Shadow Dog, 2009

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


And now, ladies and gentlemen, all the way from Red Bay, Alabama, we have the latest album release by Lyman Corbitt McAnally Jr.

Mac McAnally is now over thirty years into his successful, if sometimes under the radar, career. He has been a songwriter, producer, background vocalist, as well as having released eleven studio albums of his own. He is currently a member of The Coral Reefer Band, which is Jimmy Buffett’s backing group. He is probably most famous for his duet with Kenny Chesney on his song “Down The Road,” which became a number one country hit for the duo in early 2009. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

His latest release, Down By The River, finds him experimenting with his traditional country sound. His songs take the listener to Nashville for some simple country music, New Orleans for some Cajun cooking, Texas for some country swing, the Caribbean for some parrot head music that would make Jimmy Buffett proud, and finally, to some smoky old honky tonks.

McAnally has learned his craft well. He wrote or co-wrote all of the tracks on this release. The lyrics show sophistication, providing authentic pictures of life and living. The music ranges from simple to complex, and his expertise on the guitar, piano, harmonica, and ukulele is some of the best you will hear. His style is similar to an old friend telling stories that invade your mind and stay with you.

“Blame It On New Orleans” is a trip to the Big Easy with some brass and especially a clarinet in support. “On Account Of You” contains a gospel-driven vocal with Mac providing the foundation with his stellar piano playing. “(Nothing Like A) Sunny Day” is a feel-good tune, and you can feel your cares slip away. It contains some creative bass lines. “Bound To Get Down” is upbeat that chugs along nicely. “Until Then” is just a beautiful country ballad that places the emphasis squarely on his lyrics, proving that simple is sometimes best.

Mac McAnally has crafted a mature, personal, and intimate album. It deservedly became a recent chart success. Down By The River is American country music at its best.

Rating: A-

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© 2009 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Shadow Dog, and is used for informational purposes only.