Eight time Country Music Association Musician of the Year Mac McAnally is coming to Pascagoula

Multi-talented Mississippi musician Mac McAnally has bounced around from the back roads of Belmont to the beaches of Biloxi over the past several decades.

He's comfortable no matter where he lands. And in mid-January, he will once again find his way back to the Mississippi Gulf Coast for a pair of shows.

McAnally will headline a pair of shows in the "Jazz Fest Unplugged" series in Bay St. Louis and Pascagoula. He will appear at the "Garage Mahal" in the Bay on Friday, Jan. 13th and at the Grand Magnolia Listening room in Pascagoula on Sat., Jan. 14th.

At one point, his peers voted him the Country Music Association Musician of the Year for an unprecedented eight years in a row. He's a member of the Nashville Songwriters' Hall of Fame, the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame and Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer band. McAnally has been releasing albums since he was 20 years old.

He has written, recorded, performed and produced with the likes of Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Zac Brown Band, Alabama, Martina McBride, Dolly Parton, Sawyer Brown and Keith Whitley as well as George Jones, Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Billy Joel, Trisha Yearwood, Reba and of course the Pascagoula native Buffett over the years.

"Jimmy is my longest running co-writing relationship," said McAnally. "We wrote 'Coast Of Carolina' as a sequel to 'Come Monday.'

McAnally has written several hits songs for the likes of Chesney (Down the Road, Back Where I come From), Alabama (Old Flame), Shenandoah (Two Dozen Roses) and Sawyer Brown (All These Years, Thank God For you, This Time) among others.

And Buffett has also recorded numerous McAnally penned songs that have become favorites of the Parrotheads  including "It's my job", "The City" and "When the Coast is Clear".

He has become a sought-after producer, and is regarded as one of the foremost musicians in the Nashville music scene.He has also been nominated for several Grammy Awards, including with Chesney for "Down the road".

Chesney has called him "One of my songwriting heroes", and added "Mac has given the world so much wonderful music".

And even in the midst of creating a prodigious body of behind-the-scenes work, McAnally continued to make his own music. All told, he has recorded 13 albums, all for major labels.

In fact, he was the first artist signed to David Geffen's legendary rock label Geffen Records.Several of his own recordings found radio air play over the years, including "Minimum Love" and "It's a Crazy World".

"I've been around storytellers all my life -- Southern whittlers and guys at the courthouse," he says. "I've listened to the melodies in their conversation, the rising and falling. I've watched how they use their hands and tried to translate that into music. I've read a lot of Faulkner, Eudora Welty and Flannery O'Connor -- the Mississippi writers. I'm definitely not in their league, but I've tried to write as if I were cooking short stories down to a reduction of three-minute songs. It's not that I'm a brilliant guy or anything; that's just the way I work."

The shows will mark McAnally's first featured performance back in South Mississippi since April of 2015. He accompanied Buffett on the beach in Pascagoula in September of that same year when the duo played at a bridge dedication in Buffett's honor.

He's just as comfortable in front of crowd of 80,000 with his boss and band leader at the Fairgrounds in New Orleans or playing smaller, more intimate shows like Jazz Fest Unplugged.

"I'm a Mississippi guy, and I like coming back home and playing my songs," he concluded. "I like playing my own shows in small venues, because my music is like a story you would tell to a small room of friends."

"Jazz Fest Unplugged" is a live music concept that takes national and regional artists that have played at the greatest music festival in the world in recent years and puts them together in a unique up close and personal setting for the enjoyment of live music fans.

Showtimes for both shows is 8 p.m. Pascagoula's own Libby Rae Watson will open the show in Jackson County.

A limited amount of VIP tickets are available for $50 apiece, and include a pre-show audience with McAnally as well as a meet and greet photo opportunity and guaranteed reserved seating in front of the stage.

General admission (standing room only) tickets are $35 apiece.

All tickets go on sale Thursday, Dec. 8th,  through ardenland.net.

The Grand Magnolia Listening Room is located at 3604 Magnolia St.,Pascagoula (inside the Grand Magnolia Ball Room). The "Garage Mahal", A.K.A. The Longfellow Civic Center, is located at 122 Court St., in Bay St. Louis.