Lori McKenna

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Lori McKenna
Performing solo, Custom House Stage, New Bedford Summerfest, 2006
Photo: Thom C.
Background information
Born (1968-12-22) December 22, 1968 (age 48)
Stoughton, Massachusetts, U.S.
Genres Americana, Folk, Country
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 1998–present
Labels Warner Bros., Signature Sounds, Universal
Associated acts
Website www.lorimckenna.com

Lori McKenna (née Giroux; born December 22, 1968) is an American folk singer-songwriter. She lives in Stoughton, Massachusetts with her husband and five children.

In 2016 she was nominated for the Grammy Award for Song of the Year and won Best Country Song for co-writing the hit song "Girl Crush" performed by Little Big Town. In 2017 she again won Best Country Song at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards for "Humble and Kind" performed by Tim McGraw.

Early work[edit]

McKenna started writing songs as a teenager, and became a professional songwriter at the age of 27, when she was already married and had three children, she began singing at open mic nights in Boston, notably at the Blackthorn Tavern in nearby Easton, and eventually at her own shows.[1] Working with her then manager Gabriel Unger, McKenna released four independent CDs: Paper Wings and Halo (produced by Seth Connelly), Pieces of Me (produced by Crit Harmon), The Kitchen Tapes (self-produced demos), and Bittertown (produced by Lorne Entress). During this period she recorded for Signature Sounds, won awards from ASCAP and the Boston Music Awards, performed at the Sundance Film Festival, the Newport Folk Festival and played many venues in the Northeast.

Songwriting and music career[edit]

In 2004 McKenna signed a publishing deal with Nashville's Harlan Howard Music after Mary Gauthier shared McKenna's Bittertown with Melanie Howard. McKenna gained more attention in 2005, when Faith Hill recorded covers of four of McKenna's songs – three of which (including the title track) appeared on Hill's 2005 release Fireflies, the fourth as an exclusive to the iTunes Store.

McKenna parlayed her contribution to Hill's Fireflies into both an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show along with Hill, and a record deal with Warner Brothers Nashville. WB soon re-released McKenna's Bittertown on its label; in 2007, McKenna toured with Hill and Tim McGraw on the Soul2Soul Tour, accompanied by singer-songwriter/instrumentalist Mark Erelli and guitarist Russell Chudnofsky.

In addition to her own albums, McKenna has contributed a cover of Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" to the 2005 "High School Reunion" compilation; in 2007, McKenna recorded a cover of Neil Young's "The Needle and the Damage Done" for the American Laundromat Records benefit CD Cinnamon Girl - Women Artists Cover Neil Young For Charity. Also, McKenna helped write "Most of Me", "Latest Mistake" and "Can't You Just Adore Her?" on Mandy Moore's album Wild Hope (2007), and "Everblue" on Amanda Leigh (2009). Lori McKenna's song "Bible Song" from Bittertown was recorded by country artist Sara Evans on her 'Real Fine Place' album released in 2005. Lori also contributed a song titled "I'm Workin'", recorded by Tim McGraw on his Let It Go album, released in 2007, as well as a song titled "True Believer", recorded by Jimmy Wayne on his 2008 album, Do You Believe Me Now.

Unglamorous, was released on August 14, 2007, on Warner Bros. Nashville and McGraw and Nashville producer Byron Gallimore’s label, Stylesonic Records, the album yielded two non-charting singles. McKenna parted ways with Warner Bros. in 2008.[2]

UMPG Nashville signed McKenna to an exclusive publishing agreement.[3] Her next album Lorraine was released on January 25, 2011 on Signature Sounds.[4]

Her album, Massachusetts, was released on April 23, 2013.[5]

In 2013, three songs co-written by McKenna entered the charts: "I Want Crazy" by Hunter Hayes, "Your Side of the Bed" by Little Big Town, and "Sober", also by Little Big Town.[citation needed]

In 2016, she became one of only five solo women (the others being Jennifer Nettles, Kimberly Perry, Gretchen Peters and K.T. Oslin) to win the CMA award for "Song of the Year" and the first woman to win two years in a row. In 2017, she became the first woman in the 52 year history of the ACM Awards to win "Songwriter of the Year".


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales
US Country



Paper Wings and Halo
  • Release date: March 24, 2000
  • Label: Orchard Records
Pieces of Me
The Kitchen Tapes
  • Release date: February 10, 2004
  • Label: Gyrex Records
  • Release date: May 11, 2004
  • Label: Signature Sounds
Unglamorous 19 109 1
  • Release date: January 25, 2011
  • Label: Signature Sounds
196 5 6 30
Massachusetts 11 18
Numbered Doors
  • Release date: September 23, 2014
  • Label: Hoodie Songs
25 13
The Bird and the Rifle[11]
  • Release date: July 29, 2016
  • Label: CN Records
19 6 4 15
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
2015 Country Music Association Awards[13] Song of the Year "Girl Crush" (shared with Liz Rose and Hillary Lindsey) Won
2016 Grammy Awards[14] Song of the Year Nominated
Best Country Song Won
Academy of Country Music Awards[15] Song of the Year Nominated
Country Music Association Awards[16] Song of the Year "Humble and Kind" Won
2017 Grammy Awards[17] Best Country Song Won
Best American Roots Performance "Wreck You" Nominated
Best American Roots Song Nominated
Best Americana Album The Bird and the Rifle Nominated
Academy of Country Music Awards[18] Songwriter of the Year Lori McKenna Won
Song of the Year "Humble and Kind" Nominated
Americana Music Honors & Awards[19] Artist of the Year Lori McKenna Pending
Song of the Year "Wreck You" Pending


  1. ^ "About — Lori McKenna". Lorimckenna.com. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  2. ^ "Country Rosters Remain Stable Despite Sales Downturn". CMT.com. 2009-03-03. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  3. ^ [1] Archived July 18, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ [2] Archived February 2, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "February | 2013". Lori McKenna. Retrieved 2014-05-05. 
  6. ^ "Lori McKenna Album & Song Chart History - Country Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 3, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Lori McKenna Album & Song Chart History - Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 3, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Lori McKenna Album & Song Chart History - Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 3, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Lori McKenna Album & Song Chart History - Folk Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 3, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Lori McKenna Album & Song Chart History - Independent Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 3, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Hear 'Girl Crush' Writer Lori McKenna's New Song 'Wreck You'". Rolling Stone. 2016-05-12. Retrieved 2016-07-30. 
  12. ^ Bjorke, Matt (August 29, 2016). "Top 10 Country Album Sales Chart: August 29, 2016". Roughstock. 
  13. ^ Stefano, Angela (November 5, 2015). "2015 CMA Awards Winners — Complete List". The Boot. Retrieved April 2, 2017. 
  14. ^ Cadden, Mary (February 16, 2016). "List: Who won what at the 58th annual Grammys". USA Today. Retrieved February 16, 2016. 
  15. ^ Takeda, Allison (April 3, 2016). "ACM Awards 2016: Nominees and Winners List!". Us Weekly. Retrieved April 4, 2016. 
  16. ^ Stefano, Angela (November 3, 2016). "2016 CMA Awards Winners — Full List". The Boot. Retrieved April 2, 2017. 
  17. ^ "Grammy Awards 2017: See the Full Winners List". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 12, 2017. 
  18. ^ Hautman, Nicholas (April 2, 2017). "ACM Awards 2017: Complete List of Nominees and Winners". Us Weekly. Retrieved April 2, 2017. 
  19. ^ Stefano, Angela (May 9, 2017). "2017 Americana Music Awards Nominees — Full List". The Boot. Retrieved May 9, 2017. 

External links[edit]