Prior to filming an episode of CMT Invitation Only, which will air later this year, Tim McGraw visited with CMT Insider correspondent Allison DeMarcus about his new album, Southern Voice, set for Oct. 20 release. Along the way, he also talked about his diehard fans and finding inspiration in ’70s country and rock ’n’ roll.
DeMarcus: How is tonight’s show going to be different from your regular concert on the road that your fans typically see?
McGraw: It’s more intimate, for sure, when you got a little setup like this — and everybody is close and sort of laid-back — so you can really just concentrate on singing the songs and sort of getting the song across, instead of jumping around like your ass is on fire or something. (laughs)
Normally in a TV taping, you don’t know everybody that’s in the audience, but this has to be pretty cool because it’s die-hard Tim McGraw fans.
Yeah, well, that means I can mess up and they won’t care. They’ll still love me. (smiles) It’s gonna be a lot of fun. Like I said, for us, it’s nice to be able to relax and play the music instead of be all hyped up and be all wound up and ready to go out and set the world on fire. It’s just nice to be in a room with fans who appreciate the music, and you don’t have to sell them on it. You don’t have to do all this other stuff. You can just go out and play the music and let it speak for itself and just enjoy it.
Are you going to be doing a lot of that tonight?
We’re doing two or three new ones — I think three new songs. If I had my way, I would do all new songs because when you play the old ones so much, any time you’ve got new stuff, it’s fun to play. But you realize everyone wants to hear some of the old hits. So we went back and found some of our favorites, some of the things that we really like to play and things that we may not have done in a while. …
The new stuff is really fun. It’s the fourth album that I’ve done with my band, the Dancehall Doctors. We always have a good time in the studio recording. For us, it’s sort of like a chance to showcase what we’ve been working on as a band because you don’t get to work with a band a lot in the studio. Some artists don’t. I’ll probably do a studio album again with studio guys, so … this may be the last Dancehall Doctors album for a while.
Tell me a little bit about the new album and the feel of the music.
It’s very earthy, I think. That’s what we set out to do. We wanted to make a record that felt really settled in and really felt like you could put on like a coat. We all grew up on ’70s rock ’n’ roll music and ’70s country, of course, which all sort of sounds like the Eagles. You know, the Eagles records would be country music now. It sort of was then, too — Dr. Hook and things like that. There are a lot of those elements in this album and a lot of things we grew up listening to. And sort of a modern twist on those things, too, and some modern stories. There’s some heaviness to it, some lightheartedness to it. I think that it’s sort of a journey throughout the whole record.