Tim McGraw Makes 50 Sound Good

Still Making Music That Matters

I don't know how Tim McGraw feels about turning 50 on Monday (May 1). But if I had to make an educated guess, I'd say he's one of those "gets-better-with-age" kind of guys.

Because when I talked to him in 2013 on the 20th anniversary of his first No. 1 song "Don't Take the Girl," he told me that he's more than OK with being one of the older artists on country radio.

And some of the things he hoped when we talked a few years ago have already happened.

1. "I feel like I'm getting better. Like I'm just now figuring out who I am as an artist, in a lot of ways. It's like a shape's starting to take form. And I feel like in the next 10 years of my career, I'll make the best music I've ever made," McGraw told me at the time.

Well, mission accomplished. His past two albums -- Sundown Heaven Town in 2014 and Damn Country Music in 2015 -- have had some of his best songs, especially the massive hit, "Humble and Kind."

2. "As you get older, you realize that you're not just singing about you in particular. You're singing about everybody else that's out there. So you find songs with a character in that song, and you sort of walk through that song as the character in a lot of ways. You've gotta realize people are living vicariously through these songs, so you can't get stuck on what's about you," he said.

So while McGraw may be exactly like the guy in his latest singles, "How I'll Always Be" and "Speak to a Girl," the hillbilly-proud character he plays in his "Truck Yeah" song is just that. A character.

3. "I think now, I still want to lead the race. I still want to be the guy. I want all those things, but I've always been a music guy, so I want to make what I do lasting. I've always wanted my music to matter," McGraw told me.

It does matter. And it seems like the older he gets, the less likely he is to cut songs that don't.

McGraw and his wife Faith Hill have tour stops this weekend in Louisville, Kentucky, and Indianapolis, and then it looks like he may be able to spend his 50th birthday at home.

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