with internationally renowned singer, songwriter, producer, arranger,
long-time Coral Reefer and 2008 CMA MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR, Mr. Lyman
Corbitt "Mac" McAnally, Jr.
For additional information, please visit Mac on his website at:
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In your bio, it
says you sowed your musical oats playing both honky-tonks and Baptist
Churches. Isn't there a contradiction in
"When I first started playing the juke-joints, one of the first
things I noticed was how many of the patrons I recognized
from church. I am a fan of Martin Luther's line, that there is nothing
more religious than for a man God put here to be a farmer, to farm. I
feel that I was put here to make and help others make music. I therefore
am a mighty religious man. Any bonus entertainment anyone derives from
the contrast or contradiction is free of charge."
When and how did you meet Jimmy Buffett?
"Although I had gone as a fan to see Jimmy's shows, my first contact
with him was a note from him after I made my first record. He said that
he liked my work and the fact that we were both storytellers from
Mississippi. He said that we would be friends and write songs together
and that he expected to record some of my songs. I was honored to say
the least, but since I was new to showbiz I didn't know how much to
count on those things coming true. Twenty-some-odd years later I am here
to say that everything he spoke of in that first note has come to pass
ten times over. Now in answer to your actual question, we first met in
Philadelphia, after his show at the Spectrum and mine at the Bijou."
Let's go "Behind the Music." Can you give us some insight into
how you wrote (or co-wrote) the following songs ?
It's My Job -- "A lesson learned while
working on highway construction in Mississippi. I noticed that the days
I did my best seemed to pass more quickly than the days I moped around
waiting for the whistle to blow. I'm very fortunate to have a job that I
love but I give some of the credit to the fact that I learned how
important it is to take pride in whatever work you do, fun or not."
In The City -- "I was playing a show in
Tampa at the Peanut Gallery, and had some kind of problem at sound check
with the P.A. system. Everyone was scrambling around trying to rig it
into working, and I sat on the edge of the stage and wrote
this little song. I was taught growing up in a very small town
that I should be afraid of people from cities. This song is a
written apology to city-dwellers everywhere for my mistaken notion that
we had less in common than we actually do."
When The Coast is Clear -- "This is the
first Buffett/Mac collaboration. It was written in New Orleans in the
last two hours of a three-day writing trip. The first
two-and-a-half days consisted of nonstop meals and laughter all
of which were beneficial to the song."
Last Man Standing -- "Russ Titelman (who
produced the Far Side of the World album,) came out to see Jimmy's show
in Chicago shortly before recording began, and commented to me how long
and remarkable Jimmy's career has been. His actual words were that after
the rest of the business has come and gone that Buffett will be the Last
Man Standing because he so enjoys the whole process. We both thought
that it made for a great title and I put it over the top of a pretty
greasy little guitar groove, and together with Jimmy wrote the words. It
was written the night before the last day of tracks on the album. It is
definitely for and about Jimmy. I myself am usually the First Man
Were you surprised to have Jay Leno call you "The Brawny Paper
"I answer to just about anything. With regard to being surprised; it
hasn't happened in quite some time."
Does anyone besides your mom call you "Lyman" -- your real first
name? When did people start calling you "Mac?"
"I am a Junior. My Dad was named Lyman Corbitt McAnally. He was
named after a preacher (Dwight Lyman Moody) and a boxer (Big Jim
Corbitt). I like to say that we are a violently religious family.
Everyone called my Dad Mac and I was always Little Mac. I still
get the "Little" every once in a while back home although I am
only "Little" now in old or satellite photos."
Billy Joel says that no one in the music business escapes
unscathed. Have you ever been ripped off? Is the music business as cruel
as I often hear people say that it is?
"Any business where money and fame can be made quickly attracts a
certain type of character. Throw in musicians who are fortunate just to
get to do their hobby for a living and you have a baited field
for ripoffs. Have I ever been ripped off? Sure. Will you ever hear
me complain? Not Likely."
I've encountered those who are critical of Jimmy Buffett. They
say he is a lightweight musically. What would you say to them?
"It is not really my place to answer to Jimmy's critics, but I will
say that anyone else who has for almost four decades written songs which
celebrate life, which nourish the desire of a mass audience to celebrate
life, and who is still hungry to do it again and do it better, has a
perfect right to criticize."
Everyone always asks musicians what artists or songs they may
like. Is there a song that you truly HATE? A song that makes you VOMIT?
"To hate a song is to give it more of your attention than a bad song
deserves. There are songs that I don't care for but which
have some little hook that you can't get out of your head. There is one
Jefferson Starship song which I refuse to listen to but as a parent of
young children, I have been forced to expand and/or lower my standards."
What are your thoughts about the music played on commercial
radio these days, both country and rock?
"I can usually find some level on which to like a record, whether it
is the recording or performance or singing or the song itself. I also
know what must be given up in the chasing and realizing of the dreams of
artists of any field and I therefore categorically root for them all."
Jimmy Buffett told a story onstage that he used to fling cooked
pizzas out into the crowd during some performances. You were named as an
accomplice. Is that true, or was/is this a semi-true story?
"I have witnessed the throwing of the pizzas. I have thrown the
pizzas. I have participated in sophomoric competitions to determine who
could throw pizzas the farthest. I have seen pizzas come out of
their boxes and expand like cheesy crabbing nets to unintentionally
capture members of the audience. I am quite adept at exaggeration, but
in this case it is unnecessary."
When is your next CD coming out? Do you have future tour plans
in the works?
"I am 3/4 through the recording process. I have never to this point
in my alleged career, had any plan whatsoever."
Finally, if you could be a tree, which one would you be and why?
"As far and away the most stationary member of the Coral Reefers, I
have frequently been mistaken for a tree and am therefore very sensitive
to the subject. I suppose I would hope to be one of those
high mountain scrubs that commands little attention but goes about its
business and lives a thousand years."