How Tim McGraw’s Hats Are Like His Hits

When I read a quote from Tim McGraw about his cowboy hats, I thought for a second he was talking about his music.

I mean, after 20 years in this country music business, you have to admit the guy knows how to wear a hat. And he knows how to make a hit.

Here’s what he said, in a recent radio interview, about his small collection of cowboy hats:

“I don’t have a lot. I try to stick with one for a long time.”

Then he went on to explain the breaking-in process.

“You shape it, and then you have to wear it a little while, and then it takes a couple of months for it to actually look right,” McGraw said. “Then you only have a couple of months where it actually looks right.”

Doesn’t that sound an awful lot like the life of a single? You shape it, then you kind of break it in and get used to it, then for a couple months, it’s damn near perfect.

OK. Maybe his songs live on longer than the just-right fit of a cowboy hat. But honestly, it does seem like for an A-list artist, a song is on the radio nonstop for about two months before they start teasing that a “brand new Tim McGraw song” is “coming up next.” Doesn’t it?

But then when it’s time to move on — hat-wise — McGraw admits he lives with it looking bad for a little while before he gets the nerve up to switch again.

And wouldn’t that be the exact same feeling you’d have right before you release each new single? Like you would need to have the nerve to move on from what was familiar and comfortable — even though familiar and comfortable was starting to feel a little worn?

Maybe even after McGraw retires his old cowboy hats, he reveres them in the same way I imagine he regards old gold and platinum records — like they’re all displayed together on some cool reclaimed barn wood shelf in his house.

Or maybe that’s just the cowboy in me.

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