When Tim McGraw announced "Shotgun Rider" as his latest single this week, his biggest fans may have been scratching their heads, as that's a 7-year-old duet with Faith Hill from his Let It Go LP. But it turns out this is a different song, same name… yet one they probably already know by heart, as well. McGraw's new Sundown Heaven Town album isn't out until September 16th, but he's been performing many of its tracks on tour and on TV.
"It's just the nature of where we are with music now," McGraw tells Rolling Stone Country of phasing out the lock-and-key mentality that used to come with new albums before their release dates. "Everybody buys singles more than they do albums, and everybody wants to know what's going on in an artist's career, what they're doing next. It's a way to lead up to an album and give them a glimpse of what's coming."
In addition to road-testing about half the album on tour, McGraw debuted his last single, "Meanwhile Back at Mama's," with Hill on the ACM Awards and performed an unreleased track, "City Lights" on The Voice. He sang "Shotgun Rider" (the new one) on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" back in February. (Watch below.) Written by Marv Green, Hillary Lindsey and Troy Verges, the midtempo song is about an irreplaceable special someone.
"This is one of those songs that really paints a picture and sets a mood," says McGraw. "You look over and see the person that you love next to you sitting in the front seat, and you think, 'How good do I have it? Life is perfect.' There is a certain warmth to this song and several others like it that really establish the tone for the whole album."
On the night of his new album release, McGraw will perform at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom for an American Express Unstaged show. The concert, set to begin at 9:00p.m. ET on September 16th, will be streamed live at amexunstaged.com.