Tim McGraw Does a Down-Home Screening

Faith Hill Joins Him to See Show, Hear Soundtrack Performances

Who needs a red carpet when you’re among friends?

That was clearly Tim McGraw’s credo as he mingled with a throng of Music Row insiders Tuesday night (Oct. 10) to preview his new movie, Flicka, and hear live selections from the soundtrack album which will be released Oct. 17 on his own StyleSonic label. The showing took place at Nashville’s historic Belcourt Theater, the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1934 to 1936.

Many of the invited guests brought their children to enjoy the family-friendly flick. It co-stars Alison Lohman as McGraw’s wild horse-loving teenage daughter and Maria Bello as his sunny (and sexy) wife. The movie is set in the scenic mountain grandeur of Wyoming.

While the crowd assembled — and snacked on free popcorn, candy, soft drinks and beer — McGraw ambled around, chatting, shaking hands and posing for pictures. Not long before the live music started, his wife, Faith Hill, joined him. Then the two of them found seats in the next-to-last row of the theater’s center section and remained there until the movie was over. Neither star “dressed up” for the occasion.

Amy Driscoll of 20th Century Fox explained to the audience how the soundtrack — of which McGraw is executive producer — came together. It features performances by McGraw, the Warren Brothers, the Dancehall Doctors (McGraw’s band), Holly Williams, Gemma Hayes, Becki Ryan, Watertown, Natasha Bedingfield, Chantal Kreviazuk and Catherine Raney and includes Donovan’s 1965 folk-rock hit, “Catch the Wind.”

The soundtrack also reveals McGraw’s heretofore curtained songwriting talents. Driscoll said she is pushing “My Little Girl,” which McGraw co-wrote with Tom Douglas, for an Academy Award nomination.

The Warren Brothers opened the musical part of the show with “Where Did I Go Right.” Brett Warren said McGraw “spoke our language” in persuading them to be on the soundtrack. “He said we’d get paid.” However, he continued, their first check was for $53, “which was not even enough to cover our babysitters tonight.”

Holly Williams followed the Warrens with the wistful “Rodeo Road,” and Catherine Raney followed her with the even more plaintive “All the Pretty Little Ponies.” After that, the Warrens and the Dancehall Doctors did a loosey-goosey cover of the George Strait hit, “The Fireman.” Brett Warren explained they had just been playing around with the tune and discovered it had been recorded for the movie. He added, “We had to practice all day to make it sound [as impromptu as it does on] the soundtrack.”

Tom Douglas closed the musical segment by singing “My Little Girl” and accompanying himself on piano. He told the crowd that Scott Siman, McGraw’s manager, had called him and asked him to come to Hollywood to write with McGraw for the movie. Douglas joked, “I immediately thought he’d called the wrong person — that maybe he was dialing Craig Wiseman.” (Supersongwriter Wiseman co-wrote such McGraw hits as “The Cowboy in Me” and “Live Like You Were Dying.”)

After the movie was over, McGraw and Hill stayed on until everyone who wanted to greet them did.

Flicka, an update of the 1943 film, My Friend Flicka, will be released Oct. 20.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.