OFFSTAGE: Tim McGraw on the Bond Between Man and Car

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

If I knew nothing of Tim McGraw except for what he sings about, I’d know this: The guy has a thing for cars. I’d know that every Friday night there’s a steady cloud of dust that leads back to a field filled with pickup trucks. And that he sees six lanes and taillights, put new spinners on his Escalade, has a Chevy with a big back seat and wants to ride across West Virginia in the backseat of a Cadillac. And that when he was 19, he threw his stuff in the car, headed up to the Rockies, got a job at this bar. And, of course, we all know what he did in the back of that red ragtop. It’s like there’s a bond between McGraw’s music and cars. He agrees, saying, “There’s a bond that forms between a guy and a car, and it starts when you’re young. It’s always been the way I’ve listened to music.” And in a video for his new tour sponsor, Pennzoil, McGraw explains his passion like this: “Cars, I think, are sort of living, breathing organisms. They’re things that sort of attach themselves to your memory that you can never get rid of. When I was growing up in Louisiana, the big party for us was being in our truck and turning into a cotton field, rolling the windows down, putting the tailgate down. We’d build a bonfire, and we’d sit there and listen to music all night. What a car meant for me was freedom. Freedom to hit the road.” And when he does hit the road this summer with his old pal Kenny Chesney, I wonder if McGraw will bring the ragtop, the pickup or the Cadillac on tour with him.