Country music legend Tim McGraw has been connecting with music fans for over 20 years and his first release for Big Machine Records, Two Lanes of Freedom, is possibly his most emotional and broadest album yet. With a wide range of emotions, it reveals that even after gaining legendary status in the country music world the biggest stars can continue to grow and mature.
There are few country music artists who have dominated the charts in the last 20 years like McGraw, who’s sold over 40 million albums and had, count them, 32 #1 singles! He released his debut album way back in 1993 and since then the awards have simply piled up non-stop.
McGraw has won 14 awards from the Academy of Country Music, three Grammy Awards, 10 American Music Awards and also 12 Country Music Association Awards. When you consider that McGraw has also maintained a second career as an actor it’s even more amazing that his status in the country music world is so high.
In movies from Friday Night Lights to The Blind Side and Country Strong, McGraw has proven that he certainly has acting chops and, when he hosted Saturday Night Live, his comedic talents were on display as well as the fact that he was one of very few singers to actually host the show.
McGraw also doesn’t shy away from trying out new musical styles and has collaborated with musicians from several different genres including Def Leppard, Nelly, Tony Bennett and even Ne Yo.
McGraw has seen quite a bit of change in the last years as his management company as well as his record label and even his band have all seen big changes. McGraw was recently quoted as saying that “All of those things make you reflect on where you’ve been.” He went on to say that “it’s hard to think about where you want to go until you look at where you’ve been. When you listen to this record, there’s a lot of that reflection that drives everything forward. It’s almost like two magnets, the future and the past, and when they get close to each other, it pushes them away”.
That’s not to say that McGraw has forgotten his roots. In fact, on his new album there are a number of tracks that seem to go back to them including Annie, I Owe You a Dance and One of Those Nights. There is a lot of joy and humor on his new album also however, as seen by the songs Southern Girl and Mexicoma.
It seems that, even after 20 years at the top, To McGraw is still dedicated to innovative, authentic music that comes from the heart whether it’s on stage or on one of his albums. As he says “Art has to be cathartic; that’s why people enjoy it. It makes you think or reflect, it purges you emotionally. That’s what propels you as an artist, and it’s what makes a listener stay engaged.”
The man must know what he’s talking about because, for the last 20 years, listeners around the world have been fully engaged in everything that Tim McGraw’s been singing about.