Tim McGraw Opens Up About Final Years With Curb; Discusses New Album With Big Machine Records
By: Roughstock Staff
In a couple of weeks, Tim McGraw will unleash Two Lanes of Freedom to stores. To discuss the move he talks with Billboard Magazine for their cover story, which hits stands today. In the article, the country superstar opens up about his rough split from Curb Records, his new album with Big Machine, working with Taylor Swift, and the road that lays ahead.
Tim McGraw says that “the last five or six years have probably been the toughest years of my life.” After an acrimonious split from Curb Records, his label home for the first 20 years of his career, McGraw will release his first record on Big Machine on Feb. 5, Two Lanes of Freedom.
Tim McGraw's team is looking forward, though McGraw admits the scars of the split are still fresh. For example, he uses the term “cockblocked” in describing his final years with the label, as he watched a bevy of young male country artists find success on a stylistic bedrock in many ways pioneered by McGraw, who was burning to take his music to new heights. “They hurt my career,” he says of his previous label. “I felt like I was at the top of my game, and to not be able to get to the places I wanted to be . . . it was really hard to sit back, with me being competitive. Nothing against any other artists—I love success for anybody. I always say, ‘I want everybody to do great. I just want to do better.’ Just watching all the things that are going on and to have to sit on the sidelines, it’s been tough.”
As for the future, “It’s like I put it in a different gear now,” he says. “I really feel like I’m only about 35% into my career. There’s so much more ahead of me, musically and everything else. It feels like the clouds have parted and now I can find my lane and press the gas.”
And one of the songs on the new album that’s sure to be huge beyond McGraw’s core fans: an inspired pairing with Taylor Swift on “Highway Don’t Care,” a softly percolating carpet bomb, with Keith Urban adding tasty guitar licks. McGraw and Swift are linked by more than the label they now share. The single that introduced Swift to the world in 2006 was “Tim McGraw,” a song about its namesake providing the soundtrack of a romance that has run its course. McGraw says he didn’t know Swift— who he calls “the biggest artist in the world”—when her debut single was released. “The first thing I thought was, ‘Have I gotten that old?’” he says with a laugh. “I didn’t realize she was like 12 or 13 when she wrote it. It’s a great song. Taylor is really special, and she’s gotten exponentially better with every project. She owns her style now. Instead of searching for a style or trying to be something, she owns who she is.”