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.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.