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On The String: The Low Profile and High Art of Multifaceted Nashville Cat Mac McAnally

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For one of the most successful professionals of the past thirty years in Music City, Mac McAnally rarely gets his name in lights. But if you follow country music even casually, you’ve probably heard that name called out for ten nearly consecutive years during the CMA Awards for winning its prestigious Musician of the Year award. He’s also in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. He’s filled about every role a musician can fill on stage, in studio and on his own records, but is he famous? This is, to him, immaterial.

“I’m a farm kid from North Mississippi, and we were sort of raised that it’s not a positive character trait to call attention to yourself,” he told me before we started rolling tape for Episode 141 of The String. “So the irony of being in show business for quite a few decades is not wasted on me. But my nature is to try to be of use to somebody that has more ambition than myself.”