Interview: Tim McGraw to play Huntington Center on May 4Written by Alan Sculley | | ASculley@toledofreepress.com
Tim McGraw’s recent No. 1 hit, “Felt Good On My Lips,” was intended to be on the new studio CD, and instead was added to a new greatest hits collection.
“They [Curb] took it off of my new album that I turned in,” McGraw said. “It [the new CD]is called ‘Emotional Traffic.’ So hopefully sometime this summer it will get out.”
A big reason McGraw is eager to see “Emotional Traffic” hit the market is because he sees the CD as a pivotal project in his career.
“Every now and then as an artist, I think you need sort of a watershed project,” he said. “I think this is one of those kinds of projects for us.
“It’s the best album I’ve ever had, sonically, song-wise,” said McGraw, who will play at the Huntington Center on May 4. “We’re playing four new songs off of it on tour.”
That’s no small statement for an artist who has made million-selling albums a consistent habit over a two-decade career.
Rasied in the small town of Start, La., McGraw, who is married to fellow country star Faith Hill, broke through in a big way early in his career, with his second CD, “Not A Moment Too Soon.” It gave him his first two hits, “Don’t Take The Girl” and “Indian Outlaw,” and McGraw been a top tier country star ever since.
Artistically, though, two previous CDs stand out to McGraw.
“For me, ‘Everywhere’ was one of those sort of albums,” he said of his 1997 release. “It was the first album that I really put my name on as a producer. It was just one of those where everything just sort of made a big, massive step forward, from the sounds to tones to songs to my confidence, everything. Then another one of those moments, I think, was ‘The Dancehall Doctors’ album , when I was searching for a new sound and trying to get away from hearing the same licks that you hear on everybody’s records because the same players were playing on them.
“That’s when I took my band in to the studio for the first time,” he elaborated. “That was sort of a watershed album. It tossed everything up in the air and let it hit the ground in a different spot.”
With “Emotional Traffic,” McGraw once again looked to shake up his sound.
“I was searching for something different and some fresh-sounding songs and a different approach to songs,” McGraw said. “I was still trying to find the best songs that I could find, but find stuff that sort of had a freshness to me. And then I went and found different musicians and put together a very eclectic band. A couple of the guys from Paul McCartney’s band play on this album, the keyboard player from the Foo Fighters plays on this album. The guitar player from Alanis Morissette’s band plays on this album. So I really put a cool, eclectic band together. I think it’s just really got an edge to it in the tones and sounds that you haven’t heard on my records.”