Down by the River

Down by the River

by Mac McAnally
     
 

As a performer, Mac McAnally has had a limited run of success on the charts, though he's had a long career that began with in 1977 with his self-titled debut and the hit "It's a Crazy World." He didn't scale those heights again until 1990 with the single "Back Where I Come From." He's recorded only 11 albums between 1977 and the self-produced Down by the River.…  See more details below

Overview

As a performer, Mac McAnally has had a limited run of success on the charts, though he's had a long career that began with in 1977 with his self-titled debut and the hit "It's a Crazy World." He didn't scale those heights again until 1990 with the single "Back Where I Come From." He's recorded only 11 albums between 1977 and the self-produced Down by the River. But this only tells a tiny part of the story. McAnally is a wildly successful songwriter, penning hit tunes for everyone from Jimmy Buffett and Alabama to Ricky Van Shelton and Steve Wariner. Again, that's only another part of the story. McAnally's own records are amazing in their consistency, craft, and material. He seldom covers anyone else, and in recent years, he's taken the producer's role upon himself. He is in a league with songwriters such as Randy Newman, Bobby Charles, and Robbie Robertson. Down by the River is a stellar example. Age and time haven't hindered McAnally's ability as a recording artist. He's in terrific voice, and the array of styles and lyrics on the set is startling. The album opens with the easy living, laid-back stroll of "Blame It on New Orleans," with its horn section, clarinet fills, and righteous upright piano and syncopated drums. Then there's the Caribbean-kissed blues of "(Nothing Like A) Sunny Day," with its hip B-3 organ fills, popping bassline, and mandolin riff. "Over and Out," melds Western and Gypsy jazz swing, featuring some smoking guitar work by McAnally and fiddle work by Aubrey Haynie and Larry Franklin. There are some tough honky tonk songs such as "If You Hang Around Long Enough," (written with Jeff Hanna). The title track is a funky jive shuffle co-written by Mac and Al Anderson. There's even a contemporary country ballad in "You First," co-written with Lenny LeBlanc. McAnally wrote most of the set himself, however, and the finest track on the disc is the gospel-inflected, Muscle Shoals groove on "On Account of You" (McAnally has a right to that pedigree, having worked as a member of its house band before going solo). The entire album has a warm, intimate feel. The sound is very organic and doesn't carry a whiff of contemporary country's sheeny production. McAnally is a real Americana artist whose is not as easy to pigeonhole as singer/songwriters like Guy Clark, Tom Russell, or Steve Earle -- brilliant talents all. He uses the entire array and history of American roots music, and is musician enough to pull them off, not only in his writing, but in his recording and performing. The bottom line, of course, is that Down by the River is a real achievement by any standard, and coming so far into the artist's career it stands as an anomaly in the music biz: rather than revisit his successes or rest on his laurels, McAnally has gone wider and deeper to release what is arguably his crown jewel, which is a fertile as the land and the history of America itself. This is music that comes from the ground and ascends to the heart.

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Product Details

Release Date:
08/04/2009
Label:
Show Dog Nashville
UPC:
0812080010646
catalogNumber:
26
Rank:
73027

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mac McAnally   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Harmonica,Percussion,Piano,Electric Guitar,Electric Piano,Ukulele,Vocals
Eric Darken   Percussion
Larry Franklin   Fiddle
Greg Morrow   Percussion,Drums
Steve Nathan   Organ,Synthesizer,Piano,Electric Piano
Dave Pomeroy   Bass
Charles Rose   Trombone
Denis Solee   Clarinet,Tenor Saxophone
Chris Stone   Vocals,Yells
George Tidwell   Trumpet
Glenn Worf   Bass
Aubrey Haynie   Fiddle,Mandolin
Tom Bukovac   Electric Guitar
Robert Mullen   Vocals,Yells
Charles Solee   Clarinet,Tenor Saxophone
Robert Mullen   Vocals
Charleston Miles   Vocals
Charles Solee   Clarinet,Tenor Saxophone

Technical Credits

Anderson   Composer
Jim DeMain   Mastering
Jeff Hanna   Composer
Lenny LeBlanc   Composer
Mac McAnally   Composer,Producer
Charles Rose   Horn Arrangements
Chris Stone   Engineer
Alan Schulman   Engineer
Kyle Ford   Engineer
Jimmy Nutt   Engineer

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