OFFSTAGE: Tim McGraw on His Firewood-and-Doritos Years

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

It’s been 20 years since Tim McGraw’s very first single had its very first spin on the radio. This week, he called KRST-FM, the Albuquerque radio station that gave him that spin, and talked about how far he’s come since “Welcome to the Club.” He reminisced about those lean days when his fiddle player would come over with firewood and Doritos (when McGraw’s electricity had been turned off) and they’d play George Strait songs all day long. “You dream two different things when you get into this business,” McGraw revealed. “You want your music to sort of rule the world, and you also just hope that you can make a living and keep your lights on playing music. I’ve been lucky enough to sort of hit somewhere in the middle, and stay out of the ditches on either side.” When the DJs poked fun at his debut’s cover photo, McGraw defended himself, saying, “I was a kid! I was just figuring it out, man.”

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