Five Things Tim McGraw Wanted Out of His New Single

"Diamond Rings and Old Barstools" Checks All the Boxes

This is what Tim McGraw wanted for his new single: rough, dirty, gritty, melancholy — and with ache.


So mission accomplished? Hell to the yes. “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools” is all that and then some.

And McGraw told Billboard magazine just what it is that made him want to record such a traditional ballad.

On the song’s vibe: “I wanted it to be rough around the edges. I wanted it to have a sort of dirtiness to it, I guess, with the (Wurlitzer piano) at the beginning. I really wanted that gritty, almost cinematic sort of feel to it, where you get a vivid visual image of it right off the bat.”

On the song’s sound: “I wanted that crying steel guitar in it that wasn’t real notey, that had a real ache to it.”

On the story in the song: “It was real melancholy, sort of a weighted feeling. You feel sorry for everybody in the song. It gives you that emotion like, dang, you just wish things could work out. Sometimes they just don’t.”

On the song’s takeaway: “You’re telling a whole movie in a three-minute song, and you try to become a character that’s going through that scene. When a song is written that well and you’re alone in a room, it makes it easy to make that connection.”

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