Top 10 Songs Written By Shane McAnally


Shane McAnally is one of the most prolific and talented songwriters working in country music today. If you (somehow) haven’t heard his name, you have absoutely Heard his work: Frequent collaborator of Kacey Musgraves, Kenny Chesney, Brandy Clark and Sam Hunt has landed dozens of nominations for songwriting and production-related awards, from the Grammys to the ACM Awards.

It’s hard to pin down McAnally’s biggest hits, but below The Boot has compiled a set of 10 songs that showcase some of his best work. Read on to see our rankings … or to be wowed by the number of hit songs this guy has written:

  • ten

    “Alone with you”

    Jake owen

    “Don’t put your lips to my mouth and tell me you can’t stay / Don’t slip your hand under my shirt and tell me it’s okay / Don’t say it doesn’t matter because it’s going to be important to me … “

    Shane McAnally’s 10 best songs list starts off with a bit of disappointment: Owen’s sad song about knowing it’s a bad idea to be with someone. Co-written by McAnally, Catt Gravitt and JT Harding, “Alone With You” was Owen’s second single on Barefoot Blue Jean Night.

  • 9

    “Young & Crazy”

    Frankie Ballard

    “I wanna sit on the porch / Tell stories about my glory days / When I push 80 / How am I ever going to get old and wise / If I’m never young and crazy?”

    McAnally wrote this tribute to Being Young, Mad, and Reckless with Rhett Akins and Ashley Gorley, and Ballard released it as the third single from Sun & Whiskey. “Young & Crazy” peaked at No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart – Ballard’s third consecutive song to reach the top.

  • 8

    “Break in a small town”

    Sam hunt

    “I never thought she would / Fall in with someone I know / Guess that’s how it goes / When you break up in a small town / I see our friends and they do a show / As if they don’t want me to know … “

    “Break Up in a Small Town” was co-written by McAnally, Hunt and Zach Crowell. Hunt’s fourth single Montevallo album, this genre-bender is over 500 words long and features a lot of talk-singing. It peaked at No.2 on the Billboard country maps.

  • 7

    “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”

    Keith Urbain

    “I’m a backseat child of freedom, christened by rock’n’roll / Marilyn Monroe and the Garden of Eden / Never grow up, never grow old / Just another rebel wide open on the boulevard of dreams broken / And I learned everything I need to know from John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16 … “

    Hundreds of country songwriters must have kicked each other when they heard this chorus for the first time. The mind-blowing tune (as he sings, Urban checks everyone’s name from Kris Kristofferson to Mark Twain) slides to a funky ’70s-style beat, and he boogies all the way to No.2 on the Billboard country maps. McAnally co-wrote the song with Ross Copperman and Josh Osborne.

  • 6


    Thomas rhett

    “You were moving in the TV light / I’ve never seen anything like it / Your dress, my floor / The way you wore my T-shirt …”

    “T-Shirt” – co-written by McAnally, Ashley Gorley and Luke Laird – is certified platinum and peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. Lesson learned: people react really, really, very well to nightlife in bars really, really, really good.

  • 5

    “Better dig two”

    The Perry Group

    “Here lies the girl whose only crutch / Loved a man a little too much / If you go before me / I’ll tell the gravedigger he better dig two …”

    This song is really sweet… we think? On the one hand, it is a love so intense that the narrator is ready to be buried next to the man she loves, if so. On the other hand, she seems quite determined to Someone will die. McAnally co-wrote this track with Brandy Clark and Trevor Rosen, and it doesn’t matter if it’s scary or not – it’s fun.

  • 4

    “To come”

    Kenny chesney

    “I told you I wouldn’t call / I told you I didn’t care / But, baby, climbing walls gets me nowhere / I don’t think I can stand this bed getting cool / Come on, come on, come on, come on, come on … “

    McAnally teamed up with Hunt (who also recorded a version of this track) and Josh Osborne to write this desperate love song, which was recorded by Chesney and released as the second single from his. Welcome to the Fishbowl album. Chesney says CMT that the song clip is a “classy booty appeal”.

  • 3


    Brandy clark

    “I hate stripes / And orange is not my color / And if I pull the trigger tonight / I’ll wear one or the other / There is no crime of passion worth a fashion crime / The only thing that saves your life / Don’t I look good in orange and hate stripes … “

    McAnally, Clark, and Matt Jenkins co-wrote this one, which takes a popular country music theme – a cheater’s revenge – and does something a little different. Clark plays the song, which is ironic and easy to stomp, defending himself from killing his cheating ex for a reason: prison uniforms just wouldn’t fit him well.

  • 2

    “Mom’s broken heart”

    Miranda Lambert

    “Go do your makeup girl, it’s / Just a breakup / Run and hide your crazy girl and start acting like a woman / Because I raised you better, I have to stay together even when you fall apart / But this is not the case my mom’s broken heart … “

    The fourth single from Four the record struck a chord with listeners: “Mama’s Broken Heart,” about derailing after a breakup (the song includes a rusty scissor trim, liver damage, and references to fires) sold close of 2 million copies and is certified platinum (it also peaked at No.2 on the Billboard country maps). McAnally co-wrote the song with Kacey Musgraves and Brandy Clark.

  • 1


    Kacey musgraves

    “Mum is addicted to Mary Kay / Brother is addicted to Mary Jane / And daddy is addicted to Mary two doors away / Mary, Mary, it’s quite the opposite / We’re bored, so we’re getting married … “

    McAnally co-wrote nine of the songs on Musgraves’ debut album, Same trailer, different fleet – not to mention nine more on his second album, Historical reenactment material – so it is almost impossible to choose just one for this list. In the end, “Merry Go ‘Round” (the song that provided the title line for Musgraves) made this list because it was Musgraves’ debut single, and the song that won McAnally a Grammys trophy for the best country song in 2014.

NEXT: Top 5 Sam Hunt Songs

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