Tim McGraw Makes Old Song New

Two Decades Later, Tune Sounds Better Than Ever

I’ve been listening to Tim McGraw’s Damn Country Music for a week now, and I just have to ask. Did this happen to anyone else?

When “Don’t Make Me Feel at Home” came on, I thought, “Cool. This really has a ’90s country vibe.”

Then there was that tell. “As I took the ribbon from her hair,” he sings. The ribbon? Who wears ribbons in their hair? Ribbons are from the pre-scrunchie days.

So I looked into it, and it turns out this song doesn’t just have a ’90s vibe. It is a ’90s song.

Wesley Dennis

Wesley Dennis released it in 1995, but it was actually written in 1993 by David Lewis and Kim Williams, who at the time was writing almost every single Garth Brooks hit – “Ain’t Goin’ Down (’Til the Sun Comes Up),” “Papa Loved Mama,” “The Night I Called the Old Man Out,” “Cowboys and Angels” and more. It was also right around the same time that McGraw released his third album, All I Want. Maybe he tried to cut this song back then, or he did and it didn’t make the album, but he vowed to make it his own one day.

It was never a big hit for Dennis, but what McGraw does with it could change all that.

Despite its 22-year-old copyright, this song has all the elements that make country country. It tells the story of a reluctant cheater who is trapped in a loveless marriage, but goes to a Holiday Inn with a woman who is going to make him feel the way he hasn’t felt in way too long.

All in under four minutes.

That is damn country music.

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