Tim McGraw’s Live Like You Were Dying Turns Sweet 16 Today

The 16 Tracks That Still Hold Up 16 Years Later

Tim McGraw is all about his brand new album Here on Earth these days. And to be honest, so am I.

But I also have another standout McGraw album on my mind — Live Like You Were Dying — which was released 16 years ago, on August 24, 2004. It was one of his very best. And not just because of the life-is-beautiful anthem “Live Like You Were Dying” that topped the charts for seven weeks, but because of how the entire album was made.

McGraw took his road band at the time, the Dancehall Doctors, to Allaire Studios in Shokan, NY. He’d done it in 2002 as well, when he’d gone to Allaire to make his Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors album. At the time, McGraw had said that being that far away in upstate New York with his touring band gave the music the organic vibe you get from a real band playing together. As opposed to the Nashville norm of recording albums with session players.

With his own band, McGraw said, it changed the experience for the listeners. “Before I started having success with my records, the live thing was the biggest catalyst in my career. The thing that kept me going was what we did live and the response we got. And I always tried to keep that sound in my head when I made records,” he explained in his Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors book. “I wanted to make a record where it’s not just about me, where there’s soul all the way through. And to get that, I needed my band.”

The Grammy-nominated album had five singles climb up the charts, but some of the deeper cuts were just as popular with McGraw’s loyal fanbase.

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