McGraw Takes London For Video Shoot

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Country superstar Tim McGraw spent two days last week on the streets of London while shooting a music video for “She’s My Kind of Rain,” a cut from his upcoming album Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors. Decked out in a dapper sweater, scarf and tweed newsboy cap, McGraw wandered through quaint neighborhoods and sipped coffee in an outdoor cafĂ© as cameras rolled.

McGraw told CMT News he decided to shoot the video abroad because his wife, Faith Hill , was doing press interviews in London for her new album, Cry. McGraw and Hill try to travel as much as possible as a family with their daughters Gracie, Maggie and Audrey. During their downtime, the McGraws even ventured out for a little fun, taking in a couple of musicals and watching the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace.

For his 19th video, McGraw once again worked with Los Angeles-based director Sherman Halsey, who also shot the singer’s “Angel Boy” video at several picturesque spots in Ireland last year. Having collaborated with Halsey on 16 videos, the continuity has bolstered McGraw’s confidence in front of the camera. Immediately after wrapping up the video shoot, Halsey was on a plane back to L.A. to finish editing McGraw’s first network TV special, Tim McGraw: Sing Me Home, which airs Nov. 27 on NBC.

In addition to shooting in pubs and on winding neighborhood streets, Halsey put McGraw in front of several famous London landmarks, including Hyde Park, Piccadilly Circus, the Tower of London and Big Ben. As red double-decker buses and curious pedestrians buzzed quickly by, the singer lip-synched on a bridge over the Thames River with the Houses of Parliament glowing behind him. CMT’s Katie Cook, who was on the set with McGraw, will host a behind-the-scenes special scheduled to air on CMT later this year in conjunction with the video premiere.

Now stateside, McGraw is gearing up to promote his new album. This time around he used his longtime touring band, the Dancehall Doctors, instead of Nashville’s lauded studio musicians. The band arranged the songs in a Nashville rehearsal hall and then holed up with McGraw for nearly two weeks at Allaire, a studio tucked away in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. McGraw likened it to a “frat house” where music was the focus.

“It was great, we had no distractions,” McGraw told CMT News. “Sometimes we’d sit up all night working on a song and still be sitting there the next morning.”

McGraw says the result is a certain “vibe” not found on his earlier albums. He calls the new project his best collection to date because it captures the energy that he and the band have honed after years of playing together onstage. McGraw says he hopes to continue recording with his band for the foreseeable future. Also lending their harmony voices to the project were Kim Carnes (“Bette Davis Eyes”) and the Eagles’ Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmit.

Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors has already produced “Red Ragtop,” which is at No. 18 on the Billboard country singles chart after only four weeks. The song is the first cut for neophyte songwriter Jason White, and its subtle handling of the volatile issue of abortion has ruffled a few feathers at country radio. McGraw refuses to enter the fray by offering his opinion on the controversial subject, but he says he never shied away from recording it.

“It’s a look at somebody’s life,” McGraw said. “And that’s what music should do. It should be a slice of life.”

McGraw’s new album will be released Nov. 26 along with a book titled Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors: This Is Ours. The book captures the album-making process through photos and interviews with McGraw and the band members.