January 9

Lori McKenna, Country Music Hall of Fame’s Latest Poet

Lori McKenna, Country Music Hall of Fame’s Latest Poet 1

Who is She?

Lori McKenna started writing songs when she was still a teenager. She became a professional songwriter at the age of 27. She was already married and had three children during that time. Her singing at open mic nights began in Boston notably at the Blackthorn Tavern in nearby Easton.

Working with her then manager Gabriel Unger, McKenna released four independent CDs: Paper Wings and Halo, Pieces of Me, The Kitchen Tapes, and Bittertown. At this period, she recorded for Signature Sounds, won awards from ASCAP and the Boston Music Awards She also performed at the Sundance Film Festival and the Newport Folk Festival and played many venues in the Northeast.

In 2004, McKenna signed a publishing deal with Nashville’s Harlan Howard Music after Mary Gauthier shared McKenna’s Bittertown with Melanie Howard. She gained more attention in 2005 when Faith Hill recorded covers of four of McKenna’s songs.

Her Songs for Other Artist

To add up to her own albums, McKenna has contributed a cover of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” to the 2005 “High School Reunion” compilation. She recorded a cover of Neil Young’s “The Needle and the Damage Done” for the American Laundromat Records benefit CD Cinnamon Girl in 2007. Not only that, McKenna helped write “Most of Me”, “Latest Mistake” and “Can’t You Just Adore Her?” on Mandy Moore’s album Wild Hope.

Lori McKenna’s song “Bible Song” from Bittertown was recorded by Sara Evans on her ‘Real Fine Place’ album. Lori also contributed a song titled “I’m Workin'”, recorded by Tim McGraw on his Let It Go album.  Moreover, she also wrote the song titled “True Believer”, recorded by Jimmy Wayne on his 2008 album, Do You Believe Me Now.

UMPG Nashville signed McKenna to an exclusive publishing agreement. Her next album Lorraine was released on January 25, 2011, on Signature Sounds.

Her album, Massachusetts, was released on April 23, 2013.

In 2013, three songs co-written by McKenna entered the charts: “I Want Crazy” by Hunter Hayes, “Your Side of the Bed” by Little Big Town, and “Sober”, also by Little Big Town.

 In 2016, she became one of only five solo women to win the CMA award for “Song of the Year” and the first woman to win two years in a row.

Last year, she became the first woman in the 52-year history of the ACM Awards to win

“Songwriter of the Year”.

Selected for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s Poets and Prophets Series

Poets and Prophets celebrated its 10th-anniversary last year. It salutes songwriters who have made significant contributions to country music. McKenna has written songs like “Humble and Kind”, “Girl Crush”, “Fireflies” and “My Love Follows You Where You Go. She’s also released a number of critically-acclaimed albums, including 2016’s “The Bird and the Rifle.”

Her installment of Poets and Prophets, which will be held at 2 p.m. March 3 in the museum’s Ford Theater. McKenna will be discussing her career with museum historian Michael Gray and perform. After the program, she’ll be signing copies of a commemorative Hatch Show Print.

Admission is free with museum admission or membership. However, a program pass is required. These can be obtained at the museum’s box office two hours prior to the event. Museum members can reserve program passes in advance by emailing [email protected].

The program also will be live-streamed at countrymusichalloffame.org/streaming.



Humble & Kind, lori mckenna

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