BT: Mac, thanks for your time. We're really enjoying Down By The River. If you will, please talk about the evolution of the album.
MM: I didn't really think I'd get to it this year. It was done in a rush, but it made it exciting. The material was accumulating in the normal way my material accumulates - it requires a little bit of living, a little bit of figuring out and a little bit of failing. I'd been in the studio on other projects - my nature has always been to do my stuff after I finish everything else. This year, it became apparent that I wasn't going to get finished with everything else. I was ready song-wise, so we took a hard look and figured out we could do it and made a record in a hurry. It was recorded in Muscle Shoals primarily.
BT: You seem to have carved out an enviable career - you maintain a solo career while touring the world with Jimmy Buffett.
MM: I would like to take credit for carving it out, but it's been pretty much a blessed life for me. I was such a bashful kid that if I had to start out in today's music business, I would have never gotten out of Belmont, Mississippi. Now, you have to walk out half-naked and sing for Simon Cowell a capella [laughs]. I came along at the tail-end of the singer/songwriter thing. People would say I was too late for my time, but in reality I think it worked out just right for me. I just have had a charmed life. I never had to make music because I had 100 employees, four or five buses and a plane that had to get paid for. In only make music because I want to - that's what I hear in my head every morning.
BT: Over the course of your career, you've seen many changes in the music business. How do you feel about the current era where iTunes, YouTube, satellite radio and customized ring tones play an enormous role? The direct access seems helpful but it seems to create excess clutter by that same measure.
MM: Both of those things are true but music is still music. The delivery systems are changing and the public is more saturated with information and entertainment possibilities. I don't think there will ever be anything as big as Beatlemania ever again. The chances of that many people going in concert and harmony to one band are unlikely to ever happen again.