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Mac McAnally at Carmelfest
Mac McAnally at Carmelfest July 3rd
Most people who are familiar with Mac McAnally immediately recognize him, or the name, as being one of “Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefers”, which is really a shame, because Mac is so much more. He is a singer/songwriter in his own right, very much so, who has been around for more years than many of us would want to admit we have probably been listening to his music. But the seemingly easy-going musician appears to take it with a grain of salt as he often thanks “Mr. James W. Buffett” during his show.
Mac returned to Carmel (Indiana), solo, for the first time since 2011 and most recently after suffering a heart attack in November of 2017, although you wouldn’t know from the performance he put on. He is such a storyteller in between songs and such a gracious musician. Even though he had a planned set list, he allowed that list to be interrupted by a couple of different fans who made requests, most notably the gentleman named John, wearing an American flag shirt whose 77th birthday was that day and wanted to hear “It’s My Job” in the middle of the set. Mac kindly obliged, even though that is normally his closer. And it was so cute to watch his interaction with a couple of very young fans, one of which very correctly pointed out that Mac was playing a guitar. He played his hits, “Back Where I Come From”, “Blame it On New Orleans”, and one that I for some reason had never realized was even his, “Junk Cars”. He also paid tribute to the late great Jesse Winchester by signing “Defying Gravity”. He played a medley of songs that he has written for other artists, such as Kenny Chesney and Sawyer Brown. He also paid tribute to Jimmy Buffett by throwing in a couple of Buffett tunes for the Parrotheads in the crowd. (I’m sure this crowd seemed much more subdued compared to a normal Buffett show – no offense to the Parrotheads.)
There is a reason Mac McAnally has been named CMA Artist of the year 9 times. He deserves to be seen and heard on his own more often.