Lori McKenna

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Lori McKenna
Performing solo on the Custom House Stage of New Bedford Summerfest 2006. Photograph by Thom C.
Background information
Born (1968-12-22) December 22, 1968 (age 47)
Origin Stoughton, Massachusetts
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Acoustic Guitar
Years active 1998–present
Labels Warner Bros. Records
Signature Sounds
Universal Music Publishing Group
Associated acts
Website www.lorimckenna.com

Lori McKenna (née Giroux) (born December 22, 1968) is an American folk singer/songwriter. She lives in Stoughton, Massachusetts with her husband and five children.

In 2016 she was nominated for the prestigious Grammy Award for Song of the Year and won Best Country Song for co-writing the hit Girl Crush performed by Little Big Town.

Early work[edit]

McKenna started writing songs as a teenager, and became a professional songwriter at the age of 27, when she was already married and had three children. She began singing at open mike nights in Boston, notably at the Blackthorn Tavern in nearby Easton, and eventually at her own shows.[1] Working with her then manager Gabriel Unger, McKenna released four critically acclaimed independent CDs: Paper Wings and Halo (produced by Seth Connelly), Pieces of Me (produced by Crit Harmon), The Kitchen Tapes (self-produced demos), and Bittertown (produced by Lorne Entress). During this period she recorded for Signature Sounds, won awards from ASCAP and the Boston Music Awards, performed at the Sundance Film Festival, the Newport Folk Festival and played many sold-out venues in the Northeast.

Songwriting and music career[edit]

In 2004 McKenna signed a publishing deal with Nashville's Harlan Howard Music after fellow singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier shared McKenna's Bittertown with Melanie Howard. McKenna gained more attention in 2005, when Faith Hill recorded covers of four of McKenna's songs – three of which (including the title track) appeared on Hill's 2005 release Fireflies, the fourth as an exclusive to the iTunes Store.

McKenna parlayed her contribution to Hill's Fireflies into both an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show along with Hill, and a record deal with Warner Brothers Nashville. WB soon re-released McKenna's Bittertown on its label. In 2007, McKenna toured with Hill and Tim McGraw on the Soul2Soul Tour, accompanied by singer-songwriter/instrumentalist Mark Erelli and guitarist Russell Chudnofsky.

In addition to her own albums, McKenna has contributed a cover of Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" to the 2005 "High School Reunion" compilation. In 2007, McKenna recorded a cover of Neil Young's "The Needle and the Damage Done" for the American Laundromat Records benefit CD Cinnamon Girl - Women Artists Cover Neil Young For Charity. Also, McKenna helped write "Most of Me", "Latest Mistake" and "Can't You Just Adore Her?" on Mandy Moore's album Wild Hope (2007), and "Everblue" on Amanda Leigh (2009). Also of note, Lori McKenna's song "Bible Song" from Bittertown was recorded by country artist Sara Evans on her 'Real Fine Place' album released in 2005. Lori also contributed a song titled "I'm Workin'", recorded by Tim McGraw on his Let It Go album, released in 2007, as well as a song entitled "True Believer", recorded by Jimmy Wayne on his 2008 album, Do You Believe Me Now.

Unglamorous, was released on August 14, 2007, on Warner Bros. Nashville and McGraw and noted Nashville producer Byron Gallimore’s label, Stylesonic Records. The album yielded two non-charting singles. McKenna parted ways with Warner Bros. in 2008.[2]

UMPG Nashville signed McKenna to an exclusive publishing agreement.[3] Her ensuing album Lorraine was released on January 25, 2011 on Signature Sounds.[4]

Her latest album is called Massachusetts, released on April 23, 2013 [5] on the label 1-2-3-4-GO!.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
US Country



Paper Wings and Halo
  • Release date: March 24, 2000
  • Label: Orchard Records
Pieces of Me
The Kitchen Tapes
  • Release date: February 10, 2004
  • Label: Gyrex Records
  • Release date: May 11, 2004
  • Label: Signature Sounds
Unglamorous 19 109 1
  • Release date: January 25, 2011
  • Label: Signature Sounds
5 6 30
Massachusetts 11 18
Numbered Doors
  • Release date: September 23, 2014
  • Label: Hoodie Songs
25 13
The Bird & The Rifle [11]
  • Release date: July 29, 2016
  • Label: CN Records
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


Year Single Album
2007 "Unglamorous" Unglamorous
2008 "I'm Not Crazy"

Songwriting discography[edit]

Year Artist Album Song Co-written with
2004 Carol Laula To Let "Broken Inside"
2005 Faith Hill Fireflies "Fireflies"
"If You Ask"
"Lone Star"
"Stealing Kisses"
Sara Evans Real Fine Place "Bible Songs"
2007 Tim McGraw Let It Go "I'm Working" Darrell Scott
Mandy Moore Wild Hope "Most Of Me" Mandy Moore
"Can't You Just Adore Her?"
" Latest Mistake"
Jimmy Ryan Fun With Music "My Last Whiskey Song" Jimmy Ryan
2008 Heidi Newfield What Am I Waiting For "Wreck You" Felix McTeigue
Jimmy Wayne Do You Believe Me Now "True Believer" Liz Rose
Vance Gilbert Up On Rockfield "House Of Prayer" Vance Gilbert
2009 Mandy Moore Amanda Leigh "Everblue" Mandy Moore
Alexandra Samson Takin' My Time "I Don't Think I Deserve This" Liz Rose
"I See Smoke"
2010 Keith Urban Get Closer "Luxury of Knowing"
Ashley Ray Ashley Ray "Figured It Out"
Melissa Ferrick Enough About Me "How To Be Righteous"
2011 Alison Krauss Paper Airplane "My Love Follows Where You Go" Barry Dean, Liz Rose
Sunny Sweeney Concrete "The Old Me" Mark D. Sanders
Steel Magnolia Steel Magnolia "Bullet Proof" Chris Tompkins
Melissa Rae Barrie Breakaway "Adore Her" Mandy Moore
2012 Ashley Monroe Like a Rose "The Morning After" Ashley Monroe, Liz Rose
Trent Dabbs Southerner "Can I Cross Your Mind" Trent Dabbs
Mindy Smith Mindy Smith "Devils Inside" Mindy Smith
Buffy Lawson I'm Leaving You For Me "Lightning In A Bottle" Ashley Monroe, Liz Rose
Meghan Sheehan About Love "Break Me In Two" Liz Rose, Sheely
Walt Wilkins Plenty "Gray Hawk" Liz Rose, Walt Wilkins
2013 Hunter Hayes Hunter Hayes "I Want Crazy" Hunter Hayes, Troy Verges
Little Big Town Tornado "Your Side Of The Bed" Little Big Town
"Sober" Hillary Lindsey, Liz Rose
Holly Williams The Highway "Without You" Holly Williams
Trent Dabbs The Way We Look At Horses "Natural Causes" Trent Dabbs
Drew Kennedy Wide Listener "Rose Of Jericho" Drew Kennedy
"Sleeping Alone"
2014 Little Big Town Pain Killer "Tumble and Fall" Liz Rose, Hillary Lindsey, Little Big Town
"Save Your Sin" Liz Rose, Hillary Lindsey
"Girl Crush" Liz Rose, Hillary Lindsey
Angaleena Presley American Middle Class "Grocery Store" Angaleena Presley
Wade Bowen Wade Bowen "Long Enough To Be A Memory" Wade Bowen, Ray
Doc Walker The 8th (Doc Walker album) "That's How I Like It" Liz Rose, Nathan Chapman
Antigone Rising Whiskey & Wine Vol. I "That Was The Whiskey" Nini Camps, Kristen Henderson
"Call Me Crazy"
"Jill Johnson" Songs For Daddy "No Other Daddy But You" Liz Rose, Carver, Jill Johnson
2015 RaeLynn Me EP "God Made Girls" Nicolle Galyon, Liz Rose, RaeLynn
Amber Lawrence I Will Love You - Single "I Will Love You" Felicia Barton, Kylie Sackley
Reba McEntire Love Somebody "Until They Don't Love You" Josh Osborne, Shane McAnally
Antigone Rising Whiskey & Wine Vol. II "Game Changer" Kristen Henderson, Nini Camps
"My Town"
Carrie Underwood Storyteller "Like I'll Never Love You Again" Hillary Lindsey, Liz Rose
2016 Tim McGraw Damn Country Music "Humble and Kind"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
2015 Country Music Association Song of the Year Girl Crush (shared with Liz Rose and Hillary Lindsey) Won
2016 Grammy Awards Song of the Year Nominated
Best Country Song Won
Academy of Country Music Awards Song of the Year Nominated


External links[edit]