Damn Country Music is Tim McGraw’s passion

Tim McGraw’s new song, ‘Damn Country Music,’ is the title track from his latest album on McGraw Music/Big Machine Records. The 48-year-old country superstar says the song about risking everything to pursue your passion hits close to home for him and others in the music industry. “I think everyone that’s in this business, whether you’re an artist or not, can relate to that song,” he tells Taste of Country about the song co-written by Jessi Alexander, Cary Barlowe and Josh Thompson. “When you’re passionate about what your work is, you understand that there’s sort of a little bit of a cost … but you get so much back in return,” says McGraw about the track he describes as “the bridge that ties the album together.”

The follow up to 2014’s Sundown Heaven Town debuts at No. 3 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and No. 5 on the Billboard 200. Meanwhile, current single 'Top Of The World' is currently No. 8 on the Mediabase Country airplay chart and No. 15 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. There’s also a duet with McGraw and daughter Gracie McGraw that he claims was a hard sell. “I was afraid to ask her because she’s way cooler than I am, and I was scared to death that she would say ‘No,’” says the ‘Live Like You’re Dying’ singer. “Thankfully she didn’t, and the song is the lead-off track on the album.”

McGraw says the theme behind the Damn Country Music album and title track took him back to May 9, 1989, the day he moved to Nashville to chase his country music dreams. “It made me think about getting on a Greyhound bus and coming to Nashville,” he recalls in an interview with Rolling Stone Country. “I arrived at about three in the morning and went straight to the [Country Music] Hall of Fame. And that was the morning Keith Whitley died. I heard about it sitting at a bar at the Hall of Fame,” he says.

The Louisiana native was lucky enough to get a record deal within a year, and the inspiration behind the lyrics to ‘Damn Country Music’ were borne out of his subsequent years on the road touring. The lines about the joys of listening to the “hum of wheels on the blacktop” are, McGraw admits, something he appreciated more 25 years ago. “I used to be addicted to the road, but I don't know if I am now,” he continues to RS Country. “Home is pretty nice. I have my three daughters and my wife [fellow country music icon Faith Hill].”

McGraw says his addiction now is stepping out on stage and “getting that instant gratification from the fans and playing music for them.” He explains it as joining the fans in leaving everything behind and stepping into a moment where “you all get lost in the music together.” McGraw resumes stepping into the moment with fans next year on April 16 at the Tortuga Music Festival in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He’s also scheduled to appear at the Tree Town Music Festival in Forest City, Iowa (May 29), and the Carolina Country Music Fest in Myrtle Beach, S.C. (June 11).

Watch the “well-worn” official lyric video for the title track to Tim McGraw’s new album, Damn Country Music.

As A Matter of Fact…

* Samuel Timothy McGraw was born May 1, 1967, in Delhi, Louisiana. The son of major league pitcher Tug McGraw never knew who his famous father was while growing up in the small town of Start, La., listening to a variety of music from country and pop to R&B and rock.

* McGraw attended Northeast Louisiana University on a baseball scholarship, studying sports medicine and learning to play guitar. He started playing the local club circuit and dropped out of school in 1989, heading to Nashville on the same day his hero Keith Whitley passed away.

* McGraw performed in Nashville clubs for a couple of years before getting a deal with Curb Records in 1992. His debut single, ‘Welcome to the Club.’ was released later in the year prior to the release of his 1993 self-titled debut album.

* While his initial effort failed to chart, McGraw scored the following year with the hit ‘Indian Outlaw’ from sophomore album, Not a Moment Too Soon. The blockbuster hit album sold more than five million copies, topped the country and pop album charts, and was the best-selling country album of the year.

* McGraw has since eclipsed Garth Brooks as country music’s favorite male star. His 40 million-plus records worldwide dominate the charts with 36 No. 1 singles. He's won three Grammy Awards, 16 Academy of Country Music Awards, 14 Country Music Association Awards, 10 American Music Awards, and three People's Choice Awards.

* Tim McGraw is recognized as the BDS Most Played Artist of the Decade for all music genres, and has the Most Played Song of the Decade for all music genres with ‘Something Like That.’ McGraw is the most played country since debuting in 1992, and his singles ‘Live Like You Were Dying’ and ‘Over and Over’ spent at least 10 weeks atop the country charts.

* After landing a major role in the 2011 film “Country Strong,” McGraw has demonstrated critically acclaimed acting skills in other major motion pictures including “Friday Night Lights,” “The Blind Side,” and Disney's “Tomorrowland.”

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