Country music superstar Tim McGraw will release his 13th studio album, “Sundown Heaven Town” on September 16, 2014. The album is his second for Big Machine Records. In honor of that, I’ve compiled what I feel are the ten best songs of his career so far.
Tim McGraw was born in Delhi, Louisiana on May 1, 1967. He grew up playing sports, and attended the University of Louisiana in Monroe on a baseball scholarship. It was while he was in college that he started getting interested in music, and he took up guitar, playing and singing for tips.
After his mother moved to Jacksonville, Florida, Tim followed her, enrolling in Florida Community College for a term, still playing music with local bands. It was on May 9, 1989, the day that the legendary Keith Whitley died, that Tim decided to pursue music, so he dropped out of college, and he moved to Nashville.
In 1990, a rep from Curb records heard a demo that McGraw recorded, and Curb signed him to a record deal. Tim released his self-titled debut album in 1992.
Since that time, Tim has accrued 25 No. 1 singles, and sold over 40 million units, making him the eighth best-selling artist of the Soundscan era.
It was hard to pick just 10 songs, but I hope you’ll enjoy my list. If you have your favorites that didn’t make the list, feel free to leave comments with your own suggestions.
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Now, on with my picks for the Top 10 Tim McGraw songs for your country music playlist. These are in no special order.
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The title cut from Tim’s fourth studio release and his sixth No. 1 song. This album is my favorite of all the music he’s released so far, and “Everywhere” has a story that many people can relate to. The narrator and his ex-girlfriend broke up at her decision over the direction that their relationship was heading. Tim sings about his life on the road, while she stayed in their hometown and married and had a family, but no matter where he goes, he sees her “everywhere.”
Lyric sample: “But ever since you said good bye I've been out here on the wind. And baby you would be surprised all the places you have been.”
“Don’t Take the Girl”
This was the second single from Tim’s sophomore released, “Not a Moment Too Soon.” It was also his first No. 1. The song tells the story of a little boy who goes fishing with his dad, and a little girl wants to tag along, and his dad lets her come with them. The boy, being a typical eight-year-old didn’t want a girl to come with them, and tells his dad to take anyone else instead. As the story progresses the boy and girl date, and eventually marry and have a child. In the final verse, the woman is having a hard time with the birth, and the man now begs God not to take her, and even offers himself instead. Great story. Great song.
Lyric sample: “A little girl came through the front gate holdin' a fishing pole. His dad looked down and smiled, said we can't leave her behind. Son I know you don't want her to go but someday you'll change your mind.”
Purchase: “Don’t Take the Girl”
“It’s Your Love”
This song featured Tim’s wife, Faith Hill, and is one of the biggest songs he’s ever recorded. It’s another track from “Everywhere,” and was certified double platinum, becoming his fifth No. 1. The video that goes along with it features the couple singing together as Faith is pregnant with their first child. A perfect song for a wedding, it talks about the feelings the couple in the song have for one another.
Lyric sample: “It's your love, it just does something to me. It sends a shock right through me. I can't get enough. And if you wonder, about the spell I'm under. Oh, it's your love”
Purchase: “It’s Your Love”
“Live Like You Were Dying”
This song is special to me because I got to see Tim sing it live for the first time at the taping of the 2004 ACM Awards in Las Vegas. I may not have been very close, but you could feel the excitement in the air as he sang the emotional song. The storyteller talks about having found out that he was terminal, and how he decided that he’s going to do everything he always wanted to do and live his life to the fullest. He says that he hopes that everyone can live their lives this way. The emotional message was even more difficult for Tim, as his father had passed away a few months prior. The song was his nineteenth No. 1, and can be found on the album of the same name. It won McGraw the ACM Single of the Year, and ACM Song of the Year for the songwriters, Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman. It was also named the No. 1 country song of the year on Billboard.
Lyric sample: "And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter, and I gave forgiveness I'd been denying. An' he said: Someday, I hope you get the chance, to live like you were dyin'.”
Purchase: “Live Like You Were Dying”
“Meanwhile Back at Mama’s”
At the time of the creation of this list, this is Tim’s current single, and one that in my mind, hearkens back to the sound of his music from the “Everywhere” album. Faith Hill sings with him on this, although it’s not a true duet. It is the second single released from Tim’s upcoming album, “Sundown Heaven Town,” which is due out on Sept. 16, 2014. The video for this song was filmed at Tim and Faith’s ranch in Nashville.
Lyric sample: “Meanwhile back at mama's, the porch light's on, come on in if you wanna. Supper's on the stove and beer's in the fridge. Red sun sinkin' out low on the ridge.”
Purchase: “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s”
“The Cowboy in Me”
Cowboys and country music go hand in hand. In this song, the narrator sings about himself, saying that he doesn’t always know why he does the things he does, but that is just the cowboy in him. And then he goes on to say that even though he isn’t perfect, his girl wants to see the relationship through, and that is the cowboy in her too.
Lyric sample: “The urge to run, the restlessness. The heart of stone I sometimes get.
The things I've done for foolish pride. To me that's never satisfied.”
Purchase: “The Cowboy in Me”
Tim’s first single from his sophomore album, “Not a Moment Too Soon” was controversial due to its stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans. Some radio stations refused to play it, but enough stations did to make it Tim’s first Top 10 single, peaking at No. 8.
One of the co-writers of the song, John D. Loudermilk included a sample of his song, “Indian Reservation” towards the end, with the refrain, “Cherokee people. Cherokee tribe. So proud to live. So proud to die.”
Lyric sample: “You can find me in my wigwam. I'll be beatin' on my tom-tom. Pull out the pipe and smoke you some. Hey and pass it around.”
Purchase: “Indian Outlaw”
“I Like It, I Love It”
From his third release, “All I Want,” “I Like It, I Love It” was Tim’s third No. 1 single. The song is one that fans love to sing along with, with its catchy chorus “I love it, I want some more of it.” It reflects the feelings of the narrator for his lady love. He finds himself doing just about anything to please her, but he loves the way she makes him feel.
Lyric sample: “She's got me saying sugar-pie, honey, darlin', and dear. I ain't seen the Braves play a game all year. I'm gonna get fired if I don't get some sleep. My long lost buddies say I'm gettin' in too deep.”
Purchase: “I Like It, I Love It”
“Not a Moment Too Soon”
The song is the title track from Tim’s sophomore album, and the second No. 1 of his career. Oddly enough, it wasn’t included in his first “Greatest Hits” CD, but it did make his second greatest hits album, “Reflected: Greatest Hits 2.” The song talks about a man that is in a bad place in his life, when he meets the girl of his dreams, “not a moment too soon.”
Lyric sample: “I used to think that love would never find me, and the one who cares was lost somewhere in time. But when you found me I knew I'd found forever. You rescued me just before I crossed the line.”
Purchase: “Not a Moment Too Soon”
“If You’re Reading This”
In a time when so many people have family members in the military stationed overseas, this poignant song is a letter from a soldier to his loved ones, to be read if he doesn’t make it back home. So different from all the typical love songs, yet it shows the love a soldier has for his family, and the letter tries to help them with their grief over his death. Tim debuted the song, (which he co-wrote with the Warren Brothers) on the 2007 ACM Awards, and radio stations began playing a telecast of his live performance, which caused the song to debut at #35 on the charts. The live track was remixed to remove most of the crowd noise, and added to his “Let It Go” album, and the song peaked at No. 3 on the charts.
Lyric sample: “So lay me down in that open field out on the edge of town. And know my soul
is where my momma always prayed that it would go. And if you're reading this, I'm already home.”
Purchase: “If You’re Reading This”