Nov
6

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Tim McGraw ‘Damn Country Music’ – Album Review

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I was surprised when ‘Damn Country Music’ was announced given that it comes barely a year after the release of ‘Sundown Heaven Town’. Maybe this comes due to Tim’s busy acting schedule enforcing his album release, or maybe it has something to do with his being snubbed by the CMA Awards, meaning that he just wants to do things his own way. Whatever the reason, music is the winner because I think that ‘Damn Country Music’ is fantastic, and a step-up from ‘Sundown Heaven Town’.

Kicking off with one of the highlights of the album, ‘Here Tonight’ features harmonies sung by none other than Tim’s daughter Gracie McGraw. I was fortunate to be at Tim’s Bridgestone Arena show when he debuted the song and I loved it then and I love the recorded version even more. Their voices mesh so well and the song seems so personal to Tim and Gracie, singing about the values of home and how it is always where you want to be, regardless of the amazing places you can visit on the road. ‘Here Tonight’ is the token duet that Tim tends to put on his albums, and if history tells us anything, they are always amazing, and this is no different.

‘Losin’ You’ comes next and is able to sum up the album in general. This is so typical modern Tim that it doesn’t push any boundaries, but that doesn’t matter because Tim has nothing to prove and he continues to churn out great music, like this track. It’s got a similar vibe to the album tracks on ‘Sundown Heaven Town’ but in my opinion the music meshes with Tim’s vocals much better than many of the tracks on his previous album, sounding less like Tim singing over a backing track and more like being part of a band as a whole.

‘Damn Country Music’ is another highlight of the album, and being released in advance of the album, I imagine that many people will have already heard it. With a smooth, slow swing rhythm this song is really atmospheric and it is so country. Tim is absolutely one of my favourite artists, and this is why. This is damn country music and this is how it should be done. In my opinion this song and this album feels like Tim moving towards becoming an official ‘country old timer’ in the way of Alan Jackson and George Strait, and I think this suits him really well. He’s never going to worry about fan reception since he has such a huge and loyal fan-base, and so it has got to the stage where he can make the music he wants to make, spend more time focusing on his film career and release albums as regularly as he wants. I think that’s what this album celebrates.

‘What You’re Looking For’ is another cracking song, but I can’t quite put my finger on why. It is good lyrically, and good musically, but there is just something about it that really clicks for me. The chorus has a melody that just keeps giving, and I think that is what really makes the song what it is. Tim’s vocals dominate the song, with fairly sparse, but not acoustic, backing, something that I have been looking for Tim to do ever since being a little disappointed by ‘Sundown Heaven Town’. Similarly ‘Top Of The World’ is another song that I really like, having a bit more of an R&B twist to the fairly quaint production which fits Tim’s vocals well. The best thing about ‘Top Of The World’, as with most of Tim’s music, is that it isn’t ‘in your face’ with loud instrumentation, allowing you to appreciate the music and lyrics without straining to hear over the busy backing, and this is part of the reason why Tim is such a joy to listen to.

Speaking of joy to listen to, ‘Don’t Make Me Feel At Home’ is such a smooth ballad, reminiscent of really old-school Tim, such as from his album ‘Everywhere’. This is so country it actually hurts me to go back to listening to the usual shite that exists on country radio at the moment, even though I am actually a fan of artists like Sam Hunt and Jason Aldean! This is a beautiful song, and Tim sings the crap out of it, crooning like only Tim can do. If you are a fan of Tim McGraw, you are a fan of this song.

‘Want You Back’ is another emotional ballad, and maybe I am feeling particularly fragile in my emotional state, but I just find that this album gets better and better. Even ‘California’ featuring Big & Rich is quite good, albeit in a more upbeat way designed to be a single (I assume). However, finishing with the quiet and charming ‘Humble And Kind’ is really great, and caps off what I think is a fantastic album full of quality country music.

Get this album. I think that will suffice as a closing statement to this review.

In a partnership with Big Machine Label Group, TuneIn—the global audio-streaming platform that counts more than 60 million users—is premiering Tim McGraw’s new album Damn Country Music on TuneIn’s new flagship country music station, Country Roads.

The Damn Country Music album premiere features McGraw telling stories and studio anecdotes about the making of the album and walks listeners through a song-by-song, full-length preview of the entire new album including the three bonus tracks from the deluxe version.

“We are excited to be partnering with TuneIn to create the inaugural album premiere special on their platform,” says John Zarling, SVP/Partnership Marketing & Promotion Strategy at BMLG. “In today’s ever-changing radio climate, it is always our goal to make sure we reach every listener possible with the message of new music. McGraw’s new album is an event release, and the fact that TuneIn provides a platform to showcase the full album is a big win.”

The album premiere special, hosted by McGraw, will air on Country Roads, on the TuneIn app and website, beginning Friday November 6 at 12PM PST/3PM EST. The special is produced by TuneIn and BMLG’s Director/Strategic Research, Dave Kelly.

Get Tim McGraw tickets here.

About Nick Jarman

Music writing as a hobby, neuroscience student at Cambridge University as profession. In the market for music-industry jobs, so if you like what you read, don't be shy! Otherwise you will either find me up a mountain, or on a cricket pitch!
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