Reigning three-time Country Music Association Musician of the Year Mac McAnally will be the North Stage headliner on July 4 at CarmelFest 2011, Gary Frey, chairman of the annual event, confirmed today. His free show will begin at 8 p.m.
“We’re extremely excited to have Mac at the top of our North Stage lineup, and I believe folks will thoroughly enjoy what he brings as a solo act,” Frey said.
McAnally, who could not be reached for comment today, may be better known around these parts as “Music Man” in Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band, but his solo performances pack a particular wallop and incredible energy. Alternating between guitar and keyboards, his distinctive, rich voice and other-worldly command of the instruments are unmistakable. No stranger to Indiana, McAnally in recent years has played the outdoor band shell at The Rathskellar and the former Patio in Broad Ripple and Music Mill in Indianapolis as well as other venues. Still others will recognize him for the music he has written for fellow artists’ recordings, including Kenny Chesney, who landed a major hit with “Back Where I Come From” and Buffett, who has made hay through the years with “The City” and “It’s My Job,” among many others.
The artist’s new critically successful album, Down By The River, is out, courtesy of Show Dog Nashville. The independent label is a rising power in recording circles under the ownership of artist Toby Keith. “There’s nobody more respected, at least when it comes to musicians and people who really know this business, than Mac McAnally,” Keith is quoted as saying for McAnally’s Web site (www.macmcanally.com). “Getting to be a part of whatever Mac wants to do is an honor for me, and for everyone at the label.”
Said Frey: “And getting to be a part of his CarmelFest show will be a thrill for those on hand.”
McAnally, an inductee into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame, also has written for Hank Williams, Jr., Reba McEntire, T.G. Sheppard, David Allan Coe, Shenandoah, Ricky Van Shelton, Charley Pride, Randy Travis and Noblesville native Steve Wariner, among others who have availed themselves of his songwriting prowess. As a studio musician, he has worked with Buffett, Williams Jr., Travis Tritt, Linda Ronstadt, Roy Orbison and Mary Chapin Carpenter and many others. McAnally also has produced a number of albums – his and others’ – including several for Buffett.
“Bringing Mac to CarmelFest gives our visitors two excellent musical opportunities at the same time,” Frey said. “This also includes the Carmel Symphony Orchestra on Franklin University Gazebo Stage.”
CarmelFest 2011 runs July 3 and 4 at Civic Square. For more information, visit www.carmelfest.net.