Glad to be 'Unglamorous'

Associated Press
Published August 28, 2007

NEW YORK - Fans who've followed Lori McKenna since she was performing in small cafes, selling self-released CDs after a show, may have been a little nervous when the mainstream country establishment scooped her up.

In months, McKenna went from a critically acclaimed but under-the-radar singer-songwriter to a protege of country superduo Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. After McKenna penned Hill's hit Stealing Kisses, she signed a record deal on McGraw's label, opened for the pair on their huge nationwide tour and even sat next to Hill on The Oprah Winfrey Show as Winfrey gushed about McKenna's talents.

But don't worry about McKenna trying to Faith Hill-ify her music and sacrifice her intensely personal, emotional songwriting. With Unglamorous, released this month, the 38-year-old makes such a seamless transition, even she jokes it has been too good to be true.

"I keep telling my kids, these things normally don't happen. . . . It's usually not this easy," McKenna says, laughing.

But McKenna's path to Nashville hasn't followed the typical major label debut trajectory. First off, she's 38 and not trying to hide it. She's also the married mother of five children, ages 3 to 18.

And she still lives the life of a typical juggling mom, living outside Boston and writing songs in between school dropoffs and cleaning up after kid mishaps.

McKenna wouldn't have it any other way.

"I'm just one of those people, I've been so blessed to do what I do, and be able to have my focus still be on the things that I love, which are my kids and my family and my husband and my songwriting."