When Tim McGraw first heard the demo recording for a song called “Damn Country Music,” it took him back to May 9th, 1989 — the day he moved to Nashville to chase his country music dreams.
“It’s about passion,” he tells Rolling Stone Country of the tune, co-written by Jessi Alexander, Cary Barlowe and Josh Thompson. “It made me think about getting on a Greyhound bus and coming to Nashville. I arrived at about three in the morning and went straight to the [Country Music] Hall of Fame. And that was the morning Keith Whitley died. I heard about it sitting at a bar at the Hall of Fame.”
It took less than a year for McGraw to score his first record deal, followed by a quarter century of touring (and counting). Thus, the lines in “Damn Country Music” about joys that come from the “hum of wheels on the blacktop” certainly resonate with the singer. But his 20-something-year-old self certainly related to more of the obsession with touring than his 40-something self.
“I used to be addicted to the road, but I don’t know if I am now. Home is pretty nice! I have my three daughters and my wife,” McGraw muses. “What’s addicting is stepping out on that stage and getting that instant gratification from the fans and playing music for them. You’re sort of going into a contract together: They want to leave everything behind, and you want to leave everything behind. You want to step out in this moment where you all get lost in the music together. That’s what’s addictive.”
McGraw’s new album, also titled Damn Country Music, hits stores November 6th.