Without a doubt one of the biggest country songs on the radio these days is Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind.” The song itself has become a positive movement of its own for country music fans due to its sincerity. It should come as no surprise that it was written by one of modern country music’s most respected writers, Lori McKenna, who has a built a strong career as a songwriter and performer based on the painfully honest songs she writes and sings.
An unlikely country music songwriting hero, McKenna, a happily married mother of five from Massachusetts, has written/co-written some of country music’s most beloved songs in the past 15 years. From the loneliness of “Stealing Kisses” (Faith Hill) to the ebullient “I Want Crazy” (Hunter Hayes), to two of Little Big Town finest hits, “Your Side of the Bed” and “Girl Crush,” McKenna’s songs have touched millions whether they knew it or not.
As a singer McKenna is peerless. Her impeccable catalog of albums are filled with songs full of raw emotion and rich storytelling which are only enhanced by her uniquely emotive voice. Like her heartbreaking song “Make Every Word Hurt” off of 2013’s Massachusetts, every single word she sings is done so with purpose and striking impact. With a new album (The Bird & The Rifle) produced by Dave Cobb on the way, McKenna is on the cusp of finding an even bigger audience, and just maybe, some airplay of her own on country radio.
The first taste of The Bird & The Rifle is her version of “Humble and Kind.” As the song’s writer, she possesses a slightly deeper understanding and feel for the already adored hit song and it shows in her moving vocal performance. (This is no slight on McGraw’s terrific homespun approach to the almost certain record of the year candidate). The accompanying music is subtle (like most of Cobb’s previously produced albums), allowing the listener to concentrate on the song’s poignant message and McKenna’s expressive voice.
Lori McKenna is one of the finest songwriters in country music. After all of these years, hopefully, an even greater audience will start to recognize McKenna not only for her songwriting prowess, but also for her straight to the heart and often gut-wrenching vocals.
Lori McKenna’s The Bird & The Rifle will be released on July 29th. You can pre-order it now on iTunes.
Check out Lori McKenna playing “Humble and Kind” live at the Opry.