The Bird and the Rifle

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The Bird and The Rifle
Lorimckennatbatf.jpg
Studio album by Lori McKenna
ReleasedSeptember 29, 2016 (2016-09-29)
RecordedMarch 2014
Genre
Length36:56
LabelCN Records
ProducerDave Cobb
Lori McKenna chronology
Numbered Doors
(2014)
The Bird and The Rifle
(2016)
The Tree
(2018)

The Bird and The Rifle is the ninth studio album by Lori McKenna, released on July 29, 2016, through CN Records.[1] It includes the song "Humble and Kind", which was written by McKenna and first recorded by Tim McGraw for his 2015 album Damn Country Music. Despite the album's limited commercial success (it never charted on the Billboard 200),[2] it earned critical acclaim[3] and was nominated for Best Americana Album at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards.[4]

Background[edit]

In an interview with The Guardian, McKenna said that "there were more stories and characters on the last record, I felt like this record could be one character in different places in their life and relationships". Despite the album's focus on relationship breakdown, McKenna herself has not experienced it but says that "everybody, to one extent or another, knows the feeling".[5] Of the title track, McKenna states that "people think it's a sad song, or they'll have to ask why I have a gun thing going on" but she reasons that "most people have felt that in a relationship".

The title of the record came from Haley's 21st Birthday, a sixth-season episode of Modern Family where two of the characters briefly debated getting matching bird and rifle tattoos. Of this, McKenna noted "you never know where song ideas are gonna come from", mentioning that she was ironing with the television on in the background when the idea originated.[6]

The album was recorded live, the signature method of producer Dave Cobb, who was introduced to McKenna by the co-owner of her production company who wanted to encourage McKenna to record a new album despite the fact she didn't see her number of releases "increasing anytime soon". Of the decision to include "Humble and Kind", McKenna and Cobb were both in agreement.[6]

Humble and Kind was covered by Tim McGraw for his 2015 album Damn Country Music. McGraw's version won the American Music Award for Favourite Country Song as well as the CMT Award for Video of the Year.

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Wreck You"Lori McKenna, Felix McTeigue3:18
2."The Bird and The Rifle"McKenna, Caitlyn Smith, Troy Verges4:24
3."Giving Up on Your Hometown"McKenna4:15
4."Halfway Home"McKenna, Barry Dean4:19
5."Humble and Kind"McKenna4:03
6."We Were Cool"McKenna3:22
7."Old Men, Young Women"McKenna, Dean, Luke Laird3:42
8."All These Things"McKenna, Liz Rose3:05
9."Always Want You"McKenna, Rose, Hillary Lindsey4:06
10."If Whiskey Were A Woman"McKenna3:22
Total length:36:56

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from AllMusic.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic82/100[3]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[8]
The New York TimesPositive[9]
Pitchfork7.6/10[10]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[11]

The Bird and the Rifle received highly positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has an average score of 82 out of 100, which indicates "universal acclaim" based on 4 reviews.[3]

Timothy Monger at AllMusic awarded the album four out of five stars and deemed it "another extremely strong effort for Lori McKenna, whose growing catalogue is already known for its quality."[8] Ann Powers at NPR Music called The Bird and The Rifle "one of 2016's best releases", in part, due to "Humble and Kind", which manages to be "both widely resonant and specific". Powers also praised McKenna's voice, which she describes as "powerful but never grandiose, as if she's telling you something important but doesn't want to make a fuss."[12] Stephen Dusner from Pitchfork celebrated the track "We Were Cool", likening McKenna to Bruce Springsteen, stating that "McKenna knows that the power of a barbed lyric or a rich character relies on a bold melody and a patient vocal, and more than anything else her vocals put these songs across and make these stories relatable".[10] Similarly, Jon Pareles of The New York Times also praised McKenna's voice as a "taut, lived in soprano that can take on a flutter or a rasp close to the country of earlier generations" and pointing out that the strength in her songwriting is the "mundane yet illuminating detail."[9]

Publication Work Rank List Ref
American Songwriter Humble and Kind 1 Top 50 Songs of 2016 [13]
The Boot Humble and Kind 1 Top 10 Country Music Songs of 2016 [14]
Entertainment Weekly The Bird and The Rifle 10 Best Country Albums of 2016 [15]
Nashville Scene The Bird and The Rifle 6 2017 Country Critics Poll - Top 30 Albums [16]
Nashville Scene Wreck You 17 2017 Country Critics Poll - Top 25 Songs [16]
No Depression The Bird and The Rifle 50 50 Best Albums of 2016 [17]
NPR The Bird and The Rifle 34 50 Best Albums of 2016 [18]
Rolling Stone The Bird and The Rifle 8 40 Best Country Albums of 2016 [19]
Rolling Stone Country Humble and Kind 10 25 Best Country Songs of 2016 [20]
Rolling Stone Country The Bird and The Rifle 8 40 Best Country Albums of 2016 [21]
Sounds Like Nashville The Bird and The Rifle 10 16 Best Country Albums of 2016 [22]
Stereogum The Bird and The Rifle 2 The 20 Best Country Albums of 2016 [23]

Accolades[edit]

McKenna became the first solo woman since Jennifer Nettles in 2008 to win the Song of the Year award at the Country Music Association Awards and only the fifth solo female overall to win (following Nettles, Kimberly Perry, Gretchen Peters and K.T. Oslin).[24] Furthermore, McKenna is the only woman to win the CMA award back-to-back for different songs (following 2015's Girl Crush) and only the fourth songwriter overall to do so (after Paul Overstreet, Don Schlitz and Vince Gill).[25] "Humble and Kind" won the award for Best Country Song at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards,[4] while the album was nominated for Best Americana Album, and "Wreck You" for Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song.[4]

Year Award Category Nominated Work Result
2016 CMA Awards[24] Song of the Year Humble and Kind Won
2017 Grammy Awards[4] Best Country Song Won
Best American Roots Song (with Felix McTeigue) Wreck You Nominated
Best American Roots Performance Nominated
Best Americana Album The Bird and The Rifle Nominated

Charts[edit]

Chart (2016) Peak
position
US Top Country Albums (Billboard)[26] 19
US Folk Albums (Billboard)[27] 4
US Heatseekers Albums (Billboard)[28] 6
US Independent Albums (Billboard)[29] 15
US Top Rock Albums (Billboard)[30] 23

Release history[edit]

Source: Amazon.com[1]

Region Date Format(s) Label
United States July 29, 2016 CN Records

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Lori McKenna: The Bird and the Rifle: Music". Amazon.com. ASIN B01GR0PC1I. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  2. ^ "Lori McKenna - Chart history - Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Reviews for The Bird and the Rifle by Lori McKenna". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d "Grammy Awards 2017: See the Full Winners List". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  5. ^ Jonathan Bernstein. "Lori McKenna: making magic out of the mundane | Music". The Guardian. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Dunkerley, Beville (August 12, 2016). "Lori McKenna on New Album 'The Bird and the Rifle'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  7. ^ "The Bird and the Rifle - Lori McKenna - Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  8. ^ a b Monger, Timothy. "The Bird & the Rifle - Lori McKenna | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  9. ^ a b Jon Pareles (August 3, 2016). "Lori McKenna The Bird and the Rifle Review". The New York Times. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  10. ^ a b Deusner, Stephen M. (July 28, 2016). "Lori McKenna: The Bird & the Rifle". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  11. ^ Hermes, Will (August 10, 2016). "Review: Lori McKenna's 'The Bird & the Rifle' Is Vintage Storytelling". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media LLC. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  12. ^ "Review: Lori McKenna, 'The Bird & The Rifle'". Npr.org. July 21, 2016. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  13. ^ Deusner, Stephen (December 7, 2016). "Top 50 Songs of 2016: Presented By Bose « Page 5 of 5 « American Songwriter". Americansongwriter.com. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  14. ^ "Top 10 Country Music Songs of 2016". Theboot.com. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  15. ^ Vain, Madison. "Best country albums of 2016". EW.com. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  16. ^ a b "17th Annual Country Music Critics' Poll: The Results". Nashville Scene. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  17. ^ "Your 50 Favorite Albums of 2016". No Depression. December 15, 2016. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  18. ^ "50 Best Albums of 2016". NPR. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  19. ^ "40 Best Country Albums of 2016". Rolling Stone. December 6, 2016. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  20. ^ Freeman, Jon. "Tim McGraw/Lori McKenna, "Humble and Kind" | 25 Best Country Songs of 2016". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  21. ^ Freeman, Jon (December 7, 2016). "Lori McKenna, 'The Bird & the Rifle' | 40 Best Country Albums of 2016". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  22. ^ Annie Reuter (December 9, 2016). "16 Best Country Albums of 2016". Sounds Like Nashville. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  23. ^ Stephen Deusner (December 16, 2016). "The 20 Best Country Albums of 2016". Stereogum. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  24. ^ a b Hudak, Joseph (November 2, 2016). "CMA Awards 2016: The Complete Winners List". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  25. ^ "Lori McKenna on Twitter: "I am truly honored. Extremely spoiled. And halfway embarrassed to retweet this. Huge love to @thebarrydean & @blissandpeace for this moment". Twitter. December 10, 2016. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  26. ^ "Lori McKenna Chart History (Top Country Albums)". Billboard.
  27. ^ "Lori McKenna Chart History (Top Americana/Folk Albums)". Billboard.
  28. ^ "Lori McKenna Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard.
  29. ^ "Lori McKenna Chart History (Independent Albums)". Billboard.
  30. ^ "Lori McKenna Chart History (Top Rock Albums)". Billboard.