Grammy-Winning Songwriter Shane McAnally On Not Working With Morgan Wallen: “There’s A Gap In Political Views”

Shane McAnally Morgan Wallen
Getty Images

Even if you don’t know the name Shane McAnally, you’ve definitely heard his music.

The Grammy-winning songwriter has written hits like “Stay A Little Longer” by Brothers Osborne, “Break Up In A Small Town” and “Body Like A Back Road” by Sam Hunt, “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” by Luke Bryan, “Never Wanted To Be That Girl” by Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde, “Different For Girls” by Dierks Bentley and Elle King, and he’s also written many songs for Kacey Musgraves, including songs like “Follow Your Arrow” and “Space Cowboy.”

He’s a two-time winner of Songwriter of the Year at the ACM Awards, and he’s a three-time Grammy winner for his work with Kacey Musgraves.

McAnally is nominated again for Songwriter of the Year at the 2024 Grammy Awards, as well as a nomination for Best Musical Theater album for the soundtrack of the Broadway musical Shucked.

But overall, the songs that McAnally were nominated for haven’t been topping the charts like they have in years past: The most commercially successful song was “We Don’t Fight Anymore” by Carly Pearce and Chris Stapleton, and then there were songs like “Good With Me” by Walker Hayes, “I Should Have Married You” by Old Dominion, and “Start Nowhere” and “Walmart” by Sam Hunt.

Yet, country music just had a monster year, with names like Morgan Wallen, Zach Bryan, Luke Combs and Jelly Roll breaking through into the mainstream charts to give country music a presence on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 that the genre hasn’t experienced in a long time – if ever.

And McAnally spoke with Billboard about being a songwriter at a time when others are dominating the country charts:

“I feel so outside of things. Country music is dominating right now, but it’s the artists I don’t work with — Morgan Wallen, Luke Combs and Zach Bryan — so for this nomination to come now is a big deal.”

Now, McAnally has written one song for Morgan Wallen: In fact, McAnally and Wallen scored a #1 hit with “7 Summers,” which they co-wrote alongside Josh Osborne.

But from McAnally’s comments, it doesn’t sound like he plans on working with the superstar again any time soon – because of their political differences:

“There’s a gap in political views for me, with Morgan specifically, and they’re just from a different group. I don’t want to stereotype or lump everyone together, but sometimes you just feel outside while other people are killing it, and to be acknowledged this year, when [my work] wasn’t maybe as commercially obvious as some of my past years, feels amazing.”

Morgan has generally avoided discussing his politics publicly. Even during a recent interview with Billboard, he spoke about staying out of politics and why he doesn’t plan on publicly endorsing a presidential candidate:

“That’s not where my head’s at. I’m not an expert. I just don’t know enough to try to guide people. I know what I know, and that’s music.”

It seems like their political differences are too much for McAnally when it comes to getting back in the songwriting room together.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock