Shane McAnally has established himself as one of Nashville’s go-to writers, writing hit singles for the likes of Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves and Jake Owen using his strong ability to tell a story and characterization. Here are some McAnally co-writes that you’ll probably like based on some of his biggest hits.
If you liked “Merry Go ‘Round” performed by Kacey Musgraves
You’ll love “Two Weeks Late” performed by Ashley Monroe
Much like Musgraves’ top 10 platinum selling hit “Merry Go ‘Round,” Monroe’s brilliant album cut paints a picture of the genuine, depressing side of small town life that very few of today’s hits convey. The vivid details add to the realism, making it all the more authentic. It’s beautifully sung and well produced and does the lyric justice. It’s a highlight of McAnally’s catalog for sure.
If you liked “Come Over” performed by Kenny Chesney
You’ll love “Ghost Town” performed by Jake Owen
While “Come Over” was certainly a fine example of McAnally’s ability to craft a haunting post-breakup song, “Ghost Town” is even better. The story centers around a man unable to go anywhere without seeing his ex. It’s a marvelous piece of songwriting, brilliantly conveying the stress and heartbreak of the narrator with lines like “thought it was safe to go outside, but I guess I was wrong” and “I know you don’t want me, so why oh why oh why do you want me.” Throw in the top notch narration and fantastic melody and you have what I’d consider damn near perfection. One could argue it’s the finest cut in the McAnally catalog, absolutely brilliant.
If you liked “Downtown” by Lady Antebellum
You’ll love “Light Me Up” performed by Hunter Hayes
While McAnally may be a master at crafting deep, meaningful cuts, he also has a knack for writing big, catchy, fun hooks. “Downtown,” a #1 platinum hit for Lady Antebellum, features a hook that’s memorable for not only it’s accessibility, but also for its subtle guilt tripping. “I don’t know why you don’t take me downtown, like you’ve got anywhere better to be” Hillary Scott sings to start the chorus of this enjoyable tune. If you liked that one, you will also like the Hunter Hayes album cut “Light Me Up,” from the Encore version of his self titled debut album. “Light Me Up” might be just another fluffy love song if it weren’t for the big, dynamic hook that McAnally has provided here. It’s the kind that will get stuck in your head for hours after hearing the song – it’s borderline “Cruise” catchy. Do I prefer MacAnally’s more serious tracks? Most certainly, but he’s one of the better writers when it comes to memorable fun songs.
If you liked “Better Dig Two” performed by The Band Perry
You’ll love “Stripes” performed by Brandy Clark
McAnally has taken a similar concept, and flipped it around. The former song here, smash hit “Better Dig Two,” features a woman declaring her love for a man by saying “if you die before I do, I’m gonna tell the gravedigger that he better dig two.” Whereas the latter, a song performed by CMA nominee Brandy Clark, has a woman stating that the only reason she didn’t shoot her cheating husband is because she doesn’t look good in orange and hates stripes. It’s a clever little song that showcases McAnally at his most creative.
If you liked “Alone with You” performed by Jake Owen
You’ll love “Burnin’ Bed” performed by David Nail
Much like the Jake Owen’s platinum smash, “Burnin’ Bed” exemplifies the somewhat ghostly signature of McAnally’s writing. Both bring a somber vibe to the table, along with killer vocals. In terms of lyrical content, both songs reference “making love,” though in different scenarios. Nail’s is centered around a relationship in its peak, whereas Owen’s is about a relationship that the narrator is wanting to end, but every time he tries to break it off the woman in the song pulls him back every time they’re alone. Both are fine songs that show off main characteristics of McAnally’s work.