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Tim McGraw Sees 'Two Lanes of Freedom'

  • Mary Morningstar

This CD cover image released by Big Machine Records shows "Two Lanes of Freedom," by Tim McGraw.

This CD cover image released by Big Machine Records shows "Two Lanes of Freedom," by Tim McGraw.

Country star Tim McGraw spent the past few years battling in court to end his career-long relationship with Curb Records. McGraw is finally on a new record label with a new CD.

“Two Lanes of Freedom” is McGraw’s debut album for the Nashville independent label Big Machine Records. He shares the Big Machine roster with such superstars as Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts and Trisha Yearwood.

McGraw was under contract with Curb Records for 20 years. Following the release of his final album for Curb, “Emotional Traffic,” he signed with Big Machine and soon found himself being sued by his old label for breach of contract. A Nashville judge ruled in McGraw’s favor in 2012. Curb sent the case to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Two weeks after the release of “Two Lanes of Freedom,” the court signed an order denying Curb’s appeal.

McGraw took a new approach in the recording studio that allowed him to make what he describes as “a pivotal album” in his career.

Country singer and actor Tim McGraw in Nashville, Tennesse, Jan. 15, 2013.

Country singer and actor Tim McGraw in Nashville, Tennesse, Jan. 15, 2013.

“What I wanted to do with the record is I wanted to go in, because I’d worked with every musician on this record individually and some together as a group, but as a whole these guys had never all worked together at one time," he said. "I thought that was interesting to start with. But, I also wanted to go in and do about two weeks straight and do 10 to 14 hours a day, start in the morning and go late into the night, to where it got a chance for us to really have a cohesiveness and feel like we were a unit and everybody feel like they were contributing and weren’t just going in and making what felt like some sort of cold corporate album. I think we accomplished that. I wanted to make it a really emotional invested project with everybody involved.”

Guests on “Two Lanes of Freedom” include McGraw’s label-mate Taylor Swift and his longtime friend Keith Urban. Both join him on the album’s closing track, “Highway Don’t Care.”

Tim’s upcoming plans include taping a television special in Las Vegas. “ACM Presents: Tim McGraw’s Superstar Summer Night” will air on the CBS network at a still-to-be-determined date. On May 2, he’ll kick off a North American tour to support “Two Lanes of Freedom.” The tour is scheduled to stop in more than 30 U.S. cities before wrapping up in late July.

“Two Lanes of Freedom” debuted at Number One on the Country Albums chart and at Number Two on the Billboard 200. A current hit from the disc is “One of Those Nights,” which Tim describes as a “making a memory song.”

“It’s one of those songs that really spans the gamut. You can be 14 or 80 and you hear this song, either you’re looking forward to the rest of your life and looking forward to all the memories that you’re going to make or you’re reflecting on the memories that you have made throughout your life," he said. "And I think it’s one of those songs that really puts you in a place in time. And one of the most intriguing things about it to me is when I first heard the demo, which was, I think, really just an acoustic guitar demo, I really had this feel of what I wanted to do. I wanted to do this little bit of a throw back because the song itself has a real modern verse to it that has this edge to it and I wanted to sort of mix that with sort of a Bob Seger throw back. I think that’s what’s most intriguing to me about this song when I perform the song is I really sort of fall back into almost the ‘Night Moves’ kind of feel.”