‘By The Fire’ The Best Debut that Country Music Has Ever Heard!


For a few months now, this writer has brought readers and fans into the lives of McKinley & Beggs, the best new country duo since ‘Brooks & Dunn.’ And, for all those who have run to their computers to download McKinley & Begg’s fantastic songs, they KNOW I’m not embellishing anything; that statement is the absolute truth.

When ‘Brooks & Dunn’ first hit the scene, they released a debut titled, Brand New Man, which was also the single that flew up the charts to #1. McKinley & Beggs are well on their way to making their own indelible spot on the charts with their amazing debut album titled, “By The Fire.” When you first hear this compilation of fun, entertaining, extremely cool songs, you will be utterly amazed that this is a debut album. With the amount of energy, vitality, and fantastic writing that went into By The Fire, it certainly feels as if McKinley & Beggs have been together forever. Each and every lyric, from the upbeat ‘boot scootin’ songs to the unbelievably soft and romantic tunes, McKinley & Beggs “By The Fire” album has something for absolutely every music fan out there.

A few weeks back, this writer had the enormous honor of being able to “sit down” and electronically chat with Ronny McKinley and Jody Beggs. And when each incredible man spoke about putting together the lyrics for the “By The Fire” album, every reader in the world could feel the heartfelt emotion that McKinley & Beggs own 100%.

There is no doubt that McKinley & Beggs are heading toward being the undisputed kings of “grassroots” country music. And the pure soul they put into their words and their melodies is easily heard in every song on “By The Fire.” When Jody Beggs spoke about writing and finding the perfect lyric, he said:

I write a few different ways. One, is when I write about personal experiences like our song, “Right Back Where I Started” – which is about my five-year stint moving to Nashville and then having to move back home. Along those same lines, our song, “Little Torch Key,” is about a beautiful place in the Keys where my brother lives.

And…the listener can tell. There are many groups out there, (no, I won’t be mean enough to name names…but you SO know who I’m talking about), that literally exude ‘fluff’ when they step on a stage or into the studio. You can tell they certainly didn’t write the songs themselves, because the heart is missing. With McKinley & Beggs the songs on their fantastic “By The Fire album” are actually stories. With each and every tune, these two amazing men take listeners by the hand and walk them through actual life.

As stated above by Jody Beggs, the song Right Back Where I Started hit’s the listener immediately. It’s as if with Jody Beggs’ words, every one of us can close our eyes and remember that drive. You know? The one that included a used car packed with bags, and a huge dream to follow that we so wanted to make come true? Of course, as with many things in life, situations changed and the dream was put on hold because of something far more important that had to be done. This was a drive that both McKinley & Beggs took at one point in their past. But ‘Fate,’ being a definite force that this writer believes in, made their return home be the trip that ended up to be THE journey that WOULD make their original dreams come absolutely true.

Now, when speaking with the amazing Ronny McKinley, he stated that:

With me and Jody, both our songs are about everyday life and everyday people…I guess that’s because of who and what we are…common folk!

And, although he refers to himself and *Beggs *as “common folk,” they are a musical duo that is anything but common in the eyes of their listeners and fans.

To briefly recap the actual creation of McKinley & Beggs, they did both hail from Florida originally and ended up in the heart of Nashville jamming with the greatest country musicians of all time, while working and living in an apartment owned by Hank Cochran. Ronny McKinley and Jody Beggs were surrounded by greatness – and it certainly rubbed off. Following up on an oath they’d made to each other in the past, McKinley & Beggs arrived back in Florida and, thankfully, put together *By The Fire which is a true and utter hit!

I can’t even imagine what is was like when they first sat down to write the songs that would one day be the debut songs of McKinley & Beggs, and realized that everything that had come before had happened for a very good reason. “By The Fire” had to be born! This album had to be available for all to hear because the singles that have come from “By The Fire” are too good for a mere reviewer to put into words.

Discovered by the legendary Mel Tillis, *McKinley & Beggs* were soon able to offer their truly perfect country sound to the masses. With McKinley & Beggs’ “By The Fire” debut album doing so spectacularly, fans are practically breathless with anticipation waiting for the next McKinley & Beggs album to be released.

…And, let me tell you, if you’re still waiting to hear this duo then you’re just not all that bright, guys and gals. Because the “By The Fire” album is so incredible that it should be playing in every room of your house, in your car; heck, you should’ve memorized it so well by now that “By The Fire” singles are all you hum as you go about your daily business.

Now, no matter how long this writer writes, Ronny McKinley’s words will probably be one of the only things I remember when I’m in that nursing home humming *McKinley & Beggs songs. Ronny once wondered, when he and Jody were walking into a country icon’s office, if “the cat stuttered.” In other words, if McKinley & Beggs really had the power to become the biggest and best country duo to take the stage in a very long time.

Listening to “By The Fire” and it’s incredible lyrics and melodies, I can say to Ronny that the ‘cat’ that is McKinley & Beggs doesn’t stutter at all. In fact, that cat hits his high notes as clearly as Pavarotti hits the High C!

By The Fire! Once it’s sold, people, it’s sold. Get in on the BEST thing that’s happened to the world of country music in decades! And, believe me, after hearing the one single titled, Little Torch Key, that will be the ONLY place you’re going to wish you are every single day for the rest of your life! That’s the power of McKinley & Beggs*!

Until Next Time, Everybody.

Tom Ski is a master of the great outdoors. You can find Tom fly fishing in Montana, photographing elk and bison, watching birds from a hide or in the long grass, talking about life on his radio show and writing about his adventures at NewsBlaze.