How Do You Follow “Humble and Kind?”

For Songwriter Lori McKenna, It’s All Good

It’s rare to find a songwriter with the kind of carefree soul that Lori McKenna has.

McKenna is nominated for a Grammy for best country song for the hit she wrote for Tim McGraw, “Humble and Kind.” And she’s thrilled about that, but it sounds like she’s also thrilled about what’s next.

When she was in Nashville in late January for the local Grammy nominees party, she told CMT.com that she’d actually been writing songs that very day.

“I did get to write a couple songs today with the Love Junkies — this little writing group I’m in with Liz Rose and Hillary Lindsey. And we’ve been together for the last three days writing songs. It’s fun being with girlfriends and getting work done at the same time. So, it’s been a good day,” McKenna said.

When she found out she’d been nominated for the McGraw song, she was at home on the East coast where she was an hour ahead of Nashville and three hours ahead of Los Angeles. So since she couldn’t reach anyone in the business to confirm the news, she did the next best thing.

“I woke up my husband and I’m like, ‘I think I got nominated for like four Grammys.’ And he was like, ‘No way.’ And then my publicist called and told me. But I was sort of in my favorite place which was in my yoga pants drinking coffee in my kitchen. That was nice,” she recalled.

She was in the same situation — in comfy clothes at home — when she wrote “Humble and Kind.”

“For me, I’m a better writer for someone else when I can keep the perspective of being a writer for myself. I need to have that. Every now and then I just really need to write a self-centered song. That’s really what “Humble and Kind” was.

“I was completely writing it for myself and those two things feed each other for me,” she said.

According to the Grammys website, if McKenna wins this year, she would become the first songwriter to win back-to-back awards in this category since Robert John “Mutt” Lange and Shania Twain won for “You’re Still The One” (1998) and “Come On Over” (1999). McKenna took home the best country song trophy last year, for the Little Big Town song she co-wrote, “Girl Crush.”

McKenna is also nominated for best Americana album for her The Bird & the Rifle and best American roots performance and best American roots song for her “Wreck You.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.