- DAMN COLD OUTSIDE….YOU CAN REALLY FEEL THE WIND TODAY. LAKE EFFECT SNOW WARNING FOR THE KEWEENAW AND ONTONAGON COUNTIES…LAKE EFFECT SNOW ADVISORY FROM ALGER COUNTY EAST TO THE STRAITS AREA THROUGH SATURDAY AFTERNOON. GUESS WINTER IS FINALLY COMING TO TOWN
“For me, making a record isn’t just going in and having fun,” says Tim McGraw. “It’s going in and digging and digging and trying to get what’s inside of me out, and never quite getting there. And that’s what keeps you going back and trying again.”
This dedication to honesty and integrity has helped make McGraw not just a country music superstar, but one of the biggest names in all of music today. In his record-shattering career, McGraw has sold over 40 million albums, and dominated the charts with 30 Number One singles. Since the release of his debut album in 1993, he has won three Grammys, 14 Academy of Country Music Awards, 11 Country Music Association Awards, and 10 American Music Awards, while simultaneously maintaining a parallel career as a successful actor.
Now, with the release of SOUTHERN VOICE-his tenth studio album, and his first in over two years-Tim McGraw is extending his achievements even further. Recorded with his longtime producer, Byron Gallimore (Faith Hill, Sugarland), the disc’s twelve songs represent a new level of depth and intensity for the singer from the small town of Start, Louisiana; they tell unforgettable stories of lives lived and lessons learned, and reveal a man staring down what it means to be a father, a husband, a Southerner.
McGraw says, though, that the album’s strong sense of maturity wasn’t entirely intentional. “I don’t go out looking for that kind of material,” he says. “As an artist, you just put your antennae up, and you find and record whatever you’re drawn to. Of course, everything in your life factors into what you choose. So you might not notice any theme as you’re making an album, but once it’s done, then you look back and get a better picture of where you were as a person at the time.”
Among the territory explored by McGraw on SOUTHERN VOICE is aging and mortality (on songs like “If I Died Today” and “Forever Seventeen”) and the relationships between parents and children (“You Had to Be There,” “I Love You Goodbye”). These concepts aren’t new for the man behind “Live Like You Were Dying,” but they continue to add weight and perspective over time.
“Those things are part of my life, and they get a little more in-depth the older I get,” he says. “Both of my fathers are dead now. Some things hit a little harder than if they were still around-but it can also make you a little softer in some ways, too.”
Of course, not all of SOUTHERN VOICE is such serious business. The album’s first single, “It’s a Business Doing Pleasure With You,” is a cranked-up lament about the financial tolls of romance. The title track, meanwhile, is nothing less than a modern anthem, an irresistible celebration of the joys and contributions of the American South.
“It reminded me of songs from earlier in my career,” McGraw says. “Something like ‘Down on the Farm’-it has those kind of sentiments, but said in a more mature, more lived-in way. It says a lot without you realizing it’s saying it to you.” No question, “Southern Voice” has to be the first song to shout out Hank Williams and Rosa Parks, Michael Jordan and William Faulkner. (“It’s a different time,” says McGraw, “and people embrace all of those things now.”)
“Southern Voice” has a strong Southern rock feel-there’s a reason the Allman Brothers and Tom Petty are included in the song’s list of heroes-and on the more reflective “If I Died Today” that flavor turns up again. “Growing up in Louisiana, of course I listened to country music,” says the singer, “but that ’70s rock is a big influence on me, too. On that song, I went in with the intent of making a Traveling Wilburys/Mark Knopfler/Eagles kind of thing-I knew exactly what I wanted it to sound like.”
Another song on SOUTHERN VOICE that’s sure to draw attention, however, took a more unexpected turn in the studio. “‘I’m Only Jesus’ is the one that surprised me the most,” says McGraw. “I loved the song, but I wasn’t quite sure what it was going to come out like. My guitarist came up with a part that really turned the song around, and the end result was way more smoking, more rocking than I ever expected. The song always had this strong message, but now it really hits you upside the head.”
One of the world’s most beloved live performers (on their historic 2006-2007 Soul2Soul tour, he and his wife, Faith Hill, performed for over two million fans), McGraw will support SOUTHERN VOICE with an extensive tour in 2010. First, though, he needs to fulfill some commitments for his career on the big screen, including a co-starring role in The Blind Side, with Sandra Bullock, opening later this year.
Since his widely-acclaimed performance in 2004’s Friday Night Lights, McGraw has also appeared in Flicka (2006), The Kingdom (2007), and Four Christmases (2008)-as well as hosting Saturday Night Live, a rare honor for a singer in any genre. “Acting is an extension of what I do,” he says. “It adds emotional depth, and gives another dimension to how I prepare to make a record or a video. You take on things and learn, take in information, and different tangents show up that can’t help but reflect in what you do as an artist.”
All of Tim McGraw’s experiences-as a singer, an actor, a husband and father-culminate in his work on SOUTHERN VOICE. These songs offer the perspective of a man who has lived a full life and always stayed just a bit under the radar while steadily racking up multi-platinum honors (“I like going out and quietly slaying dragons,” he says.) He has recorded some of the hits that define country music over the last fifteen years-classics like “Just To See You Smile,” “I Like It, I Love It,” and “It’s Your Love” (which was voted CMT’s top video of all time)-but he still seems to operate entirely on his own terms.
“I don’t look at how I fit into the industry, into the puzzle of other artists,” says McGraw. “I look at how can I get better and where I’m going. I’m competitive and I want to win, but at the same time, I don’t even know what the competition is doing. I just want to get better, period.
“I’m only maybe 30 percent of where I want to get to,” he concludes. “And I see a lot more ahead of me than there is behind me.”
COUNT SARAH PALIN AS ONE OF THE PARTY-CRASHERS AT THE WHITE HOUSE
…ALSO COUNT THIS WELL KNOWN CELEBRITY!!
STUDIO 330 IN THE MORNING SESSION CUT OF THE DAY: MICHELLE BRANCH
“Everything comes and goes
I’m always the last to know
I can see the sun come up
“Everything Comes And Goes” by Michelle Branch
Everything Comes And Goes–Grammy-winner Michelle Branch’s first solo effort since 2003’s Hotel Paper–is much more than just “another day” for this twenty-six-year old recording artist. Branch’s compelling new album for Warner Nashville has been long in the making and well worth the wait. This is a deeply personal statement of purpose from a singer-songwriter who’s already experienced success in a variety of formats over the course of nearly a decade as a recording artist. Yet for all that she has already accomplished in her life, Everything Comes And Goes is a breakthrough effort–once and for all establishing Branch as a significant, grown up talent in her own right.
Everything Comes And Goes also represents Branch’s first project since she enjoyed her first country smash with 2006’s acclaimed album Stand Still, Look Pretty by The Wreckers, the duo with which Branch made an inspired vocal and songwriting collaboration that was nominated for both a CMA Award and a Grammy. The popularity of The Wreckers helped establish Branch as a fixture of country radio, thanks to such winning country tracks as the #1 smash “Leave The Pieces” and the Top Ten hit “My, Oh My.”
Born in Sedona, Arizona, Branch took voice lessons at eight, got her first guitar by fourteen, and instantly became obsessed with songwriting. That same passion resulting in Branch releasing her first independent album Broken Bracelet and signing her first major label record deal with Maverick before she turned eighteen. “You could say that I’ve always been obsessed with music.”
The Spirit Room–released in August 2001–went multi-platinum, and produced three substantial hit singles in “Everywhere,” “All You Wanted” and “Goodbye to You.” Branch’s reputation as a young musical artist with grown-up talent was further solidified in 2002 when she teamed up with Santana to record “The Game of Love,” which became an international smash and won a Grammy Award for “Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.”
Somehow, Branch always stood apart from the other young women who were high on the charts at the time. “I was the odd rock girl out,” Branch remembers with a smile. “I wrote all my own stuff, and I didn’t really play dress up. I was just uncomfortable with all that. I was this girl from Sedona wearing Led Zeppelin T-shirts, hemp necklaces and baggy pants, so that whole sex kitten thing just wasn’t me. Fortunately, I think everyone really kind of recognized I wasn’t going to go there. But I was cleaning out my closet in Nashville recently with my manager Sheryl and I found the one cover of Blender I did where I had my midriff showing. It was a big deal at the time. Now that I have a kid, I was like “Damn, what was the problem? I mean, I definitely can’t show my midriff now.”
Now with the release of Everything Comes And Goes, Branch has clearly gotten her groove back as a solo artist with the help of her two Johns as producers, and an extraordinary group of musicians who recorded in Nashville, New York and Los Angeles, including Dwight Yoakum who is featured on “Long Goodbye.” The resulting album offers the powerful, emotional and ultimately life-affirming sound of a gifted singer-songwriter who left some pieces of her heart behind, but found some new pieces along the way too. “I never consider what an album’s about while I’m recording it,” Branch says finally. “But in the end, I guess that Everything Comes And Goes is really a record about passion–about wanting it, about losing it and then finding it all over again.”
AND FINALLY, MORE LIES, GOSSIP AND DIRT” FROM PATSY J. KREBS AT THE “CUT~N~CURL” IN NASHVILLE TENNESEE
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