ACM Winner Lori McKenna Has Been Celebrating Since 2006

Songwriter of the Year Recalls Her First Radio Moment

Lori McKenna made history at the Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday (April 2) when she was named songwriter of the year. She’s the very first woman to ever have that honor.

And when I had a chance to talk to her on the red carpet about her win, she told me about one of the ways she celebrates her songwriting when she’s back at home in Massachusetts.

It’s with a family tradition: When her songs come on the radio, and she’s in the car with any of her five children, they all know what has to happen.

“In my house and in my Honda Pilot, the kids all know that if a song I was a part of comes on the radio, we get to roll down the windows and turn the volume up and drive around until the song is over,” McKenna told me.

“And I love it when my husband sends me a video of the radio while he’s driving if one of my songs comes on,” she said.

The first time it ever happened for the McKenna was more than 10 years ago, when Faith Hill’s “Stealing Kisses” came on.

“I remember that it was around Thanksgiving, and we all happened to be in the minivan back in day when it came on,” she said. “And that was such a great moment.”

McKenna’s more recent songwriting credits include Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind” and Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” and “Your Side of the Bed.”

She told me she still loves listening to music in the car, whether it’s a song she wrote or not. But when it is a song she wrote, that’s even better.

“It doesn’t get old. It sounds cliché, but it just doesn’t,” she said.

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