Rob McNelley Gives It Right Back To You

The Nashville session guitarist steps into the spotlight with a power-pop gem.

Rob McNelley teaches you about karma with his new power-pop single Right Back To You — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

The latest solo cut from the acclaimed Nashville session guitarist — known for his work with top-tier artists like Bob Seger, Dolly Parton and Luke Combs — channels the classic pop-rock sounds of 1980s AOR radio. It’s a karmic heartbreak anthem about a woman cheating on her man, with vocals that ooze a sweet and soulful patina, as if worn down by the pain. The recording benefits from McNelley’s years and years of studio experience, perfectly balancing modern sheen and classic scruff. Right Back To You was produced with Grammy winner Justin Francis (Kacey Musgraves, Orville Peck, Little Big Town) and multi-instrumentalist Russ Pahl (Robert Plant, Carrie Underwood, Dan Auerbach).

The song marks the beginning of a series of singles to be unveiled over the coming months, culminating in an EP later this year. “Everybody in Nashville knows me, but people outside of that world, even if they have heard the music I’ve played on, don’t know my name or know me as a solo artist. I’m hoping to change that with this new music,” says McNelley. The announcement comes on the heels of McNelley winning his fourth ACM Award for Guitar Player Of The Year last week.

Photo by Craig Young.

Rob’s journey began long before he became one of the most sought-after guitarists in country music. Known for his respect for finely crafted songs, Rob has played on countless hits, bringing his signature great tone, feel, and melodic sense to each track and picking up numerous Guitarist Of The Year and Musician Of The Year nominations along the way. He has worked on countless country music hits and albums by a bevy of iconic rock and blues artists, including Lainey Wilson, Carrie Underwood, Hank Williams Jr., Lady A, Joe Bonamassa, Buddy Guy, Delbert McClinton and more.

Despite his extensive background, Rob has always nurtured his own singer-songwriter ambitions. As a solo artist, McNelley is a dyed-in-the-denim roots-rocker. His songs encompass country music’s economic lyrics and broadly resonant storytelling; the blues’ urgency and minor-key moodiness; and the anthemic hooks of 1970s and 1980s album-oriented radio. “I get into writing a country or a blues song, and then the Beatles side of my brain kicks in,” McNelley admits.

He released the solo EP RMC Vol. 1 in 2016. Now, he plans to continue as a world-class sideman while pursuing opportunities as a solo artist. Throughout 2024 and beyond, he will release singles and play shows regionally. Reflecting on his path, he says: “I’ve been fortunate to play with artists who have the Mount Rushmore of songs. When I play one of their songs, I always say to myself, ‘How do I write a song that good?!’ It inspires me!”

Check out Right Back To You above and below, and follow Rob McNelley on Instagram.