Tim McGraw released his 13th studio album, Sundown Heaven Town on Tuesday, and promoted the new set of tunes from sun-up to sundown in the Big Apple.
The 47-year-old entertainer kicked off his album release day with a performance on ABC’s Good Morning America, and wrapped up the evening with a concert for American Express Unstaged that was live-streamed from Manhattan’s iconic Hammerstein Ballroom.
Directed by filmmaker Bennett Miller (Moneyball, Capote), the webcast featured 17 songs, 11 cameras and a pair of family members. If you happened to log on five minutes early, you were treated to a rare, voyeuristic countdown of McGraw alone in his dressing room, ear monitors on, intently pacing, before he strapped on his guitar and headed out to center stage.
Impeccably tailored in head-to-toe black and sporting a new salt-and-pepper beard, McGraw chose not to roll out any of the freshly-pressed material from Sundown until halfway through his set, when he was joined by Catherine Dunn for the wistful “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, I want you to give a New York City welcome to my first cousin, Miss Catherine Dunn, singing along with me,” he instructed.
Dunn impressed the crowd with her strong, yet tender, harmonies. But it was another blonde relative who took the stage amid excited screams from the 3,000-plus fans in the audience. A glamorous Faith Hill joined her husband of nearly 18 years for their duet, “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s,” which recently earned McGraw his 54th Top 10 single.
“When I first heard it, I was picking up one of the kids from school and drove back home and played it for Faith right away,” he tells Rolling Stone Country of the hit duet. “At the last line of the song, she teared up. I knew I was going to record it right away, and when she did that I knew we were both going to record it.”
The Louisiana native performed seven selections from Sundown Heaven Town, including his current single, “Shotgun Rider.” He also debuted “Keep on Truckin'” and “Last Turn Home,” along with the uptempo “Overrated” (“That’s one of my favorite songs on the new record”) and the introspective “Sick of Me” (“This is my wife’s favorite song”).
McGraw’s celebrated swagger seemed to swell exponentially once he hit the encore, and with it, more familiar musical territory. He put the pedal to the metal for his high-octane 2012 smash “Truck Yeah,” then led the crowd into an uplifting sing-along of his anthemic “Live Like You Were Dying.”
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If you missed Tuesday’s webcast, you can watch it on-demand here.
Tim McGraw’s American Express Unstaged Set-List
- “One of Those Nights”
- “Real Good Man”
- “Where the Green Grass Grows”
- “Two Lanes of Freedom”
- “Southern Girl”
- “Just to See You Smile”
- “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools” with Catherine Dunn (new)
- “Keep on Truckin'” (new)
- “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” featuring Faith Hill (new)
- “Overrated” (new)
- “Red Rag Top”
- “Shotgun Rider” (new)
- “Last Turn Home” (new)
- “Sick of Me” (new)
- Encore: “Truck Yeah”
- Encore: “Live Like You Were Dying”