During the next few months, the Country industry will release new albums by 10 of the field's best-selling artists. They include Alan Jackson, Faith Hill, Toby Keith, Shania Twain and George Strait. The much-anticipated seventh studio album by Tim McGraw has just hit record stores. If the success of its first single is any indication, the collection could become one of the year's top sellers.
Tim McGraw describes his new album, Live Like You Were Dying, as a tapestry of life. Tim began recording the album just a few weeks after the death of his father, former Major League Baseball star Tug McGraw. "This album has a very personal feel to it," says Tim. "My emotions were certainly raw when I was recording the album. If anything, there might be more emotion in it."
Since arriving on the Country scene in 1993, Tim has sold more than 26 million albums, and he's topped Billboard's Country singles chart 20 times. His new album has already produced a Number One single.
Tim featured his touring band, The Dancehall Doctors, on his 2002 self-titled album. To date, three million copies of the CD have been sold in the U.S. McGraw also used the group on his latest album, and they returned to the mountaintop studio in upstate New York to record the collection. He says the isolation allowed them to concentrate on the music.
"My Old Friend" has become a concert favorite, thanks in part to the video Tim plays on big screens at the venues. Danny Knight, a U.S. Army chaplain, met Tim through his wife Faith Hill, and sent him pictures from Afghanistan and Iraq to use in the video montage. Speaking of Tim's concerts, he's spending the next two months performing throughout the United States. His two concerts in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on September 30 and October 1, will be filmed for a television special, tentatively scheduled for broadcast in November. His first TV special, which aired in November 2002, drew higher ratings than televised concert specials by rock superstars Paul McCartney and U2.
In October, Tim will make his feature film debut in Friday Night Lights. The drama, which stars Billy Bob Thornton, chronicles the 1988 season of a Texas high school football team, and the struggles and personal conflicts the team faces while going for a state championship. Tim plays the alcoholic father of a team member who tries to live his days in football vicariously through his son. McGraw will also appear in the upcoming film Black Cloud. He plays a sheriff in that movie, which was written and directed by actor Rick Schroeder.
The title track from Tim's new CD, "Live Like You Were Dying," took only four weeks to climb into the Top 5, and only seven weeks to reach Number One on the Country chart.