When Tim McGraw was trying to get a record deal in the early ’90s, he started by playing two-hour sets at Nashville’s Diamond in the Rough on Broadway.
At the time, he was down to his last $400.
But he must have been pretty sure of his sound, because he invited some Music Row people to come see him play.
“I sent out invitations to every producer in town,” McGraw said in a recent radio interview, “and only a few showed up, not too many. I think I got two calls back, and one of them was Byron Gallimore.”
McGraw was one of the first big names Gallimore produced, but he was also working with Jo Dee Messina in the early ’90s and had already written a couple of big hits, including Charley Pride’s “Ev’ry Heart Should Have One” and the Forester Sisters’ “Love Will.”
After agreeing to work together, McGraw showed up for his first early morning session ready to sing and to drink.
“I showed up at his studio at 10 in the morning with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s,” McGraw recalled of his first session with Gallimore. “And he looked at me, and I think he thought, ‘What have I gotten myself into? This is gonna be a whole different ball game.'”
“We worked together, and he helped me figure myself out and figure what it is I wanted to do and we worked together as a team,” he said of the self-titled debut album he released in April 1993.
“I can’t imagine going into the studio ever without him,” McGraw said — referring, of course, to Gallimore. “He’s one of the best there ever is, and he’s certainly one of my best friends.”