Alumnus Laird brings home Grammy in latest phase o...

Alumnus Laird brings home Grammy in latest phase of career

MTSU alumnus and multi-award-winning songwriter Luke Laird added another hyphenate to his name Sunday night when the project he co-produced, Kacey Musgraves’ “Same Trailer, Different Park,” took the 2014 Grammy for Best Country Album.

Singer Kacey Musgraves, center, poses with her Grammy-winning album’s co-producers, MTSU alumnus Luke Laird, left, and Shane McAnally, after accepting the award Sunday night. Musgraves tweeted this photo Monday.

Laird, who earned his recording industry degree from MTSU in 2001, also co-wrote six of the album’s 12 tracks, including three with co-producer Shane McAnally.

“Two of my greatest friends and the most brilliant people I’ve ever met; Luke Laird & Shane McAnally … right after we accepted the award for the album we had so much fun writing and making,” Musgraves tweeted Monday while posting a backstage photo of the trio. “Such an honor, guys! Let’s do it again.”

Laird has had 14 No. 1 singles since he signed his first publishing deal in 2002 and has written for some of music’s biggest artists, including Tim McGraw, Eric Church, Lady Antebellum, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Hunter Hayes, Ne-Yo, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, John Legend and others.

He and his wife, Beth Mason Laird, co-founded Creative Nation, a music publishing and management company, in 2011. In 2012, Laird was named BMI’s Country Songwriter of the Year, co-writing five songs that appeared on the year’s most-played list.

He expanded his music industry role in 2012, producing Ne-Yo’s 2012 album “R.E.D.” that year and then tackling Musgrave’s album and Thomas Rhett’s “It Goes Like This” in 2013.

Laird, a 2012 member of the College of Mass Communication’s Wall of Fame, also saw several of his songs appear on Grammy-nominated projects in 2013. Little Big Town won the 2013 Country Duo/Group Performance Grammy for “Pontoon,” which he co-wrote.

Luke Laird

Laird also also co-wrote two songs on Lambert’s 2013 Best Country Album nominee “Four the Record” — “Fine Tune” and “Baggage Claim” — and co-wrote “Somebody’s Heartbreak” on Hayes’ self-titled Best Country Album nominee.

Musgraves’ “Same Trailer, Different Park” landed on several publications’ annual “best album” lists last year, including a No. 1 ranking in the Washington Post music writer’s “Top Ten Albums of 2013” ahead of Kanye West’s “Yeezus.”

“Merry Go Round,” one of the singles from “Same Trailer,” also won the Best Country Song for 2014 for co-writers McAnally and Josh Osborne.

At least two other former MTSU students were involved in Grammy-nominated projects at the 56th annual event:

  • Michael Knox (B.S. ’91) produced Aldean’s “Night Train,” which was in the running for best country album. Knox, who majored in advertising and public relations at MTSU, also was nominated in 2012 for work with Aldean and Trace Adkins.
  • Jessi Alexander, a recording industry major and co-writer of Miley Cyrus’ award-winning “The Climb,” co-wrote two Best Country Song nominees at the 2014 Grammys: Lee Brice’s “I Drive Your Truck” and Shelton’s “Mine Would Be You.”

MTSU’s College of Mass Communication dean Paulson, along with President Sidney A. McPhee and Beverly Keel, chair of the Department of Recording Industry, led a contingent of MTSU alumni and supporters at a series of Grammy weekend events in Los Angeles to help promote the recording industry program. You can read more about that trip at

— Gina E. Fann (

Singer Kacey Musgraves, center, holds the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Country Album during Sunday night’s TV show as co-producers Luke Laird, left, and Shane McAnally, look on. (Photo courtesy of