Tim McGraw’s Mom Is Inside Sundown Heaven Town

He Shares the What-Ifs of Life's Turning Point

If you look closely inside the liner notes of Tim McGraw‘s new album Sundown Heaven Town, you’ll see his mother Betty. The photo is kind of small, but the sentiment behind it is huge.

Betty D’Agostino was still in high school when she got pregnant with McGraw. And in a twist of fate, that was right around the same time that the teenager — and dancing hopeful — was trying to make it onto the afternoon TV variety show, Where the Action Is.

(Dick Clark was the host, and Paul Revere and the Raiders were regulars on the series. Remember?)

So to honor the sacrifices his mother made as a teenager, McGraw wanted to put her photo in the CD booklet for his new album.

“Two days after she found out she was pregnant with me — it was her senior year in high school and she found out she was pregnant with me — she got a call back to audition for Where the Action Is, and she couldn’t do it,” McGraw revealed to his record label about his mother’s unplanned pregnancy with his biological father, the late baseball great Tug McGraw.

Not only did she have to back out of the callback, she had to back out of everything.

“She had to drop out of school,” McGraw said. “They sent her to Louisiana out in the country so nobody could see her being pregnant. You know the whole routine back then. So, to me, that was sort of the moment in time that my mom’s life changed. And to be on my album project and have a picture of her sort of was full circle in a lot of ways.”

And even though his mom sort of questioned his decision for the album artwork, McGraw lovingly thinks it was a cool photo, and he’s glad he included it.

“Maybe I helped her fulfill at least vicariously some of her dreams,” he said.

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