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Let It Go - Tim McGraw

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Genre: Country - Contemporary Country / Artist: Tim McGraw / Audio CD released 2007-03-26 at Curb

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

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      12.04.2007 15:56
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      If you think you don't like country music, 'Let It Go' could change your mind

      ‘Let It Go’ – Tim McGraw

      INTRODUCTION

      So who’s this McGraw bloke then?

      (If you already know everything there is to know about Tim McGraw you can skip this section and go straight to the meat and potatoes of this item – the review of ‘Let It Go’; otherwise, please read on and hopefully, enjoy.)

      If someone had told me six months ago that in 2007 I’d be reviewing an album by a country music superstar, listening to it obsessively and recommending it to all my friends, I’d have said they were crazy. Me! Listen to an album of country music? About as likely as developing an interest in the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen or the plays of Harold Pinter. Yet, here I am, about to start lavishing praise on ‘Let It Go’, the latest CD from reigning country supremo, Tim McGraw. To be honest, I had no idea who Tim McGraw was until I stumbled across a link on that modern day version of the Oracle, the internet. OK, I admit it - I was watching Neil Diamond on AOL Music Sessions, when a link to someone called Tim McGraw caught my eye. Who’s this bloke in a woolly hat, I asked myself? Never heard of him. Still – might be worth a listen.

      Worth it, it certainly was. We were only a few bars into ‘When The Stars Go Blue’ when I realised that Mr McGraw is a seriously gifted singer, knows a hit song when he hears one and amazingly, actually looks quite fetching in a woolly hat (let’s be honest, how many men can you say that about). As well as sounding tremendous, Mr McGraw has had the good sense to surround himself with some extremely talented musicians (more on them later) who appear to be able to replicate live the same quality of sound that they produce in the studio. If this is country music, I thought, then ‘I like it, I love it, I want some more of it’. By the time Mr McGraw had finished doing his stuff, I was hooked. Oh dear, was I about to find myself in the grip of some strange new addiction? In short – yes. There was nothing for it – track down Tim McGraw’s collected works as soon as possible. Now, this wasn’t as straightforward as you might think. It turns out that while Tim McGraw has sold millions of albums and had a string of No. 1 hits on the other side of the Atlantic, over here, his CDs are ridiculously hard to track down. My local HMV has, of course, tucked him away in the country music section – next door to ‘Easy Listening’ which nobody wants to be seen anywhere near. Virgin Megastore has decided to let him languish in a section called ‘Specialist Music’. This is the section where you’ll find recordings of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos arranged for the Bavarian Nose Flute, works for the solo Tuba, miscellaneous ‘World Music’ and assorted folksy items. Nobody, but nobody, is going to look for Tim McGraw here. Having finally located the right section, what do I find? A serious lack of anything by Tim McGraw. There was nothing for it but to head back home to my PC and my trusted source for all things musical and otherwise unobtainable – Amazon.co.uk.

      I soon discovered that Mr McGraw has been recording hit after hit since the early 1990s and has released 11 CDs (two of which are Greatest Hits collections). Here’s a handy list, should you wish to get hold of them (the following are all on the Curb Records label):

      Tim McGraw (1993)
      Not a Moment Too Soon (1994)
      All I Want (1995)
      Everywhere (1997)
      A Place in the Sun (1999)
      Greatest Hits (2000)
      Set This Circus Down (2001)
      Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors (2002)
      Live Like You Were Dying (2004)
      Greatest Hits II (a.k.a. Reflected) (2006)
      Let It Go (2007)

      Naturally enough, being in the grip of an addiction, I needed a fix – so I ordered the lot.

      So now we know who Tim McGraw is, why should we listen to this stuff? Isn’t country music all frantic fiddling, twanging guitars, corny tunes and cheesy lyrics? Isn’t it dominated by men in ridiculous shirts and women with big hair and impossibly large breasts?

      Well, you can relax – Tim McGraw’s CDs (well the later ones, anyway) are about as far removed from the stereotypical country fare as you’re likely to get. Think rock with a definite country influence, rather than the other way around. If you’re under the impression that you don’t like country music (which is what I used to think) you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised by Tim McGraw. Blessed with perfect diction, you can actually hear every word that Tim McGraw sings. This is extremely rare. Most pop, rock, country, stars could be singing selections from the Yellow Pages, for all the sense one can make of their incessant vocal acrobatics. Of course, in some cases the lyrics are so bad this may be intentional. Not on a McGraw CD. The lyrics clearly mean something, which is which is why Tim McGraw has actually taken the trouble to make sure we can hear all of them. Some of them are of the slightly cheesy variety (we’re talking country music here so you’ve got to expect a certain amount of gorgonzola) and some are unintentionally hilarious. One song, ‘Carry On’ (which you can find on ‘A Place in the Sun’) actually begins with the immortal lines: ‘Mama went to sleep one night and never woke up; Daddy cried a tear into her old coffee cup’. How he can sing some of this stuff and keep a straight face is anyone’s guess. The amazing thing is he gets away with it. The truth is, I can’t resist it either. It reminds me of one of my favourite Victorian parlour songs: ‘Father’s a drunkard and Mother is dead’. In fact, the rest of ‘Carry On’ is all about – you’ve guessed it - carrying on in the face of adversity. ‘What don’t kill us makes us strong … nobody ever said that life was going to be fair’ – you’re telling me! I’m a sucker for this sort of thing. Tim McGraw has got the ‘triumph in the face of adversity’ thing down to a tee. I’m guessing it’s because he’s had some personal experience of it.

      So much for the lyrics, what can we expect from the music I hear you ask. Well, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, unless you’re the type that objects to anything that sounds too polished and professional. Personally, I rather like it when people play the right notes, hit the right chords and sound as though they know what they’re doing. I can never understand those people (usually music critics) who routinely describe things as being ‘over-produced’. Would they prefer it if it sounded ‘under-produced’? Still, if you like the under-cooked, cobbled-together, ‘we’re far too superior to have actually bothered to rehearse this stuff’ sound, then you may not like the Tim McGraw approach. Apparently, the fact that Tim McGraw has sounded less and less like a traditional country and western act as time has gone by is what some aficionados object to – arguing that what you hear on his CDs is not ‘authentic’. They don’t like the fact that he mixes things up and throws in lots of disparate elements that you might not expect to hear on a country album. Oh dear, these are the sort of people who think everything should be pigeon-holed and kept neatly in separate musical compartments. All I can say, is good for Tim McGraw. He’s managed to resist the temptation to be categorized, which is probably the secret of his success. All the tracks on all the CDs (both those with and those without the input of the Dancehall Doctors) sound absolutely terrific to me. Don’t take my word for it - put aside your prejudices and any residual sniffiness about country music and just listen to Tim McGraw’s five most recent CDs for starters.

      BIOGRAPHY

      OK, we’re prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, but who is he, where’s he from and does he do anything other than sing a bit?

      Well, it turns out that Tim McGraw is but a mere babe in arms (my term for anyone younger than I am) having been born on 1 May 1967 in Louisiana. He grew up in a place called Start (there may be a Stop, but I’ve not checked) and only found out by accident that he was in fact the son of baseball player, Tug McGraw. I try and avoid anything to do with sport, so I’m afraid the name meant nothing to me. They eventually made contact, but sadly Mr McGraw senior died at the time ‘Live Like You Were Dying’ was being recorded, giving the CD and the song in particular, an added poignancy. According to the brief biography on his website, young Tim was a bit of a sporty type himself but forced to choose between sport and music, he thankfully chose the latter. After the inevitable long hard slog to Nashville, during which time he earned next to nothing, he eventually landed a record deal. His first CD, released in 1993, didn’t exactly set the world alight. His next album however, spawned his first hit – a controversial little number called ‘Indian Outlaw’. This gloriously politically incorrect song so inflamed listeners of a sensitive disposition that some radio stations apparently refused to play it at all. For goodness sake! ‘Native American Outlaw’ just doesn’t sound as good, doesn’t scan and is virtually impossible to sing. Recording it was a savvy move on Mr McGraw’s part – it got him noticed, demonstrated that he wasn’t afraid of a bit of controversy, had a sense of humour, and moreover, didn’t take himself too seriously. After this, he was on a roll and the hits have flowed thick and fast ever since. The grand total is somewhere in the region of 26 No. 1 hits (in the US). The album sales have also totted up nicely, with several going straight to the number one slot on the charts and then staying there. Read anything related to Tim McGraw’s recording career on the internet and you’ll find the words ‘platinum’ and ‘multi-platinum’ popping up with alarming regularity. He’s also won a slew of awards, too numerous to mention. To cut a long story short, he’s been very, very successful.

      The other thing you need to know is that Tim McGraw is married to the equally delectable Faith Hill – a country superstar in her own right. The two of them got together on the appropriately named ‘Spontaneous Combustion’ tour in 1996. Like her husband, she appears to have been blessed with lashings of talent as well as more than her fair share of good looks. They toured together recently and their ‘Soul2Soul’ show hits the road again this year (although you’ll have to cross the pond to catch it). As if being one half of one of the music world’s most glamorous couples wasn’t enough, Tim McGraw has also recently added acting to his resume, having appeared in three films: Flicka, Friday Night Lights and Black Cloud.

      Enough, already! Mr McGraw is clearly a talented bloke, but why should we shell out good money to buy his latest CD – after all, the guy’s already made millions?

      Well, it would have been easy after all his success for Tim McGraw to have sat back, relaxed a bit and let things slip. He hasn’t. Not a bit of it. ‘Let It Go’ is just as good as its predecessors. There’s no slacking at all. He’s come up with a really cracking CD, positively bristling with top class songs. There’s a very good reason for Tim McGraw’s success: he knows a really good song when he hears one and what’s more, he knows exactly how to interpret and deliver it to maximum effect. It’s a skill he’s used to the full on ‘Let It Go’.

      LET IT GO

      At last – tell us about ‘Let It Go’

      (The songs are not necessarily in the order in which they appear on the CD.)

      The first song, ‘Last Dollar’ (by Big Kenny) is about as catchy as they come. As I wandered round HMV, attempting to be distracted by Razorlight and Arcade Fire, I found myself humming ‘One, two, three, like a bird I sing’, even though I tried not to. It’s one of those ‘feel good’ songs which makes me feel ridiculously chirpy and cheery. The only other songs which have this effect on me are Nelly Furtado’s ‘Like a Bird’, Beth Nielsen Chapman’s ‘Happy Girl’ and Neil Diamond’s ‘Delirious Love’ (I heard this playing unexpectedly in Marks & Spencer the other day and off I went, bopping uncontrollably through the lingerie section). ‘Last Dollar’ has a similar effect – it’s just one of those irresistible songs.

      The next song on the album could hardly be more of a contrast. ‘I’m Workin’’ (by Lori McKenna and Darrell Scott) is about what most people spend most of their waking lives doing – working. It’s surprising how few songwriters feel inspired to write about this subject. The song brilliantly sums up the virtual impossibility of maintaining any sort of relationship while working the night shift. Tim McGraw carries it off with great aplomb, so that despite the subject matter the song never feels downbeat or sombre.

      ‘Let It Go’ (by William C Luther, Aimee Mayo and Tom Douglas) is about being haunted by ghosts of the past, carrying around the weight of former sins on your shoulders, then finally letting go. It’s a similar ‘transgression and redemption’ theme to ‘Angel Boy’ (see later) but this time Tim tells us: ‘I know, I know, I know, I know I’ve been forgiven: I know, I know, I know, I know I’m gonna start living.’ You can beat yourself up for past mistakes until you’re blue in the face but at some point you’ve just got to ‘let it go – stand out in the rain and let it wash it all away’. Great song, sung with conviction.

      Alcohol also features prominently on this album, in ‘Whiskey and You’ and in ‘Nothin’ to Die for’, both of which were co-written by Lee Thomas Miller (perhaps he’s trying to tell us something). The latter was co-written with Craig Wiseman, who also helped pen that other McGraw hit, ‘Live Like You Were Dying’. It’s hard to follow a song as unique and outstanding as that, but Mr Wiseman has managed it with ‘Nothin’ to Die for’ – a number which the Government should adopt immediately for its next anti-drinking-and-driving campaign. If anything’s likely to put you off combining those two things, this song is it. Let’s hope people play it loudly in their cars. As far as I’m concerned, both lyrically and musically it’s the stand-out track on the CD. Memorable, melodious and it actually means something.

      ‘Whiskey and You’ (by the aforementioned Mr Miller and Chris Stapleton) is one of the more obviously ‘country’ influenced tracks on the CD. It’s the sort of song you might expect to hear on a ‘country’ album. Nothing wrong with that. It’s a terrific song about using alcohol to mask the pain of losing someone and the difference between the two. Tim tells us that after downing an entire bottle, ‘I’ll be hurting when I wake up on the floor and I’ll be over it by noon and that’s the difference between the Whiskey and you’. In short, a great drowning-your-sorrows song.

      The other more overtly ‘country’ songs on the CD are ‘Kristofferson’ by Anthony Smith and Reed Nielsen) and ‘Shotgun Rider’ (by said Mr Smith and Sherrie Austin and Jeffrey Steele). In ‘Kristofferson’ we’re back to the drink again and this time it’s 90-proof. Mr McGraw informs us that having been ditched, he’s going to drown his sorrows, sit down and ‘write a song for you, like Kristofferson would do … it may not be in time, it may not even rhyme, but all it has to be is true.’ Well said my man. ‘Shotgun Rider’ features Faith Hill, although not as prominently as on ‘I Need You’ (by David Lee and Tony Lane) a fully fledged duet in which she tells us that she want to ‘make love ‘til the sun comes up, ‘til the sun goes down again’. Good grief, there’s just no satisfying this pair! It’s a great ‘love as a drug’ song, which uses the imagery of addiction to great effect: ‘I need you, like a needle needs a vein’ – we get the picture. ‘Put Your Loving on me’ by Hilary Lindsey and Luke Laird has a similar theme running through it. There’s an air of quiet desperation which pervades the song – ‘take this weight off me and put your loving on me’, sings Tim, adding ‘be my drug, get me high on your touch for the night.’ Love, sex and drugs – now that’s what I like to hear on an album. Should be sure-fire hit then.

      In ‘Comin’ home’ by Rivers Rutherford and Steve McEwan Tim tells us that ‘after so long being frozen it took a while to thaw me out, I spent too long not knowing what love’s supposed to be about, now I’m finding out. It’s a lot like coming home, from a long time walking out in the snow’. This has got a nice, relaxed, mellow feel to it. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.

      I can’t resist a song that tells a story and ‘Between the River and me’ (Brett and Brad Warren, Brett Beavers) is a classic. It’s about dispatching an abusive husband and stepfather. It manages to be both darkly humorous and melodramatic. All good knockabout fun.

      Tim McGraw has only co-written one song on this CD, the evocative ‘Train #10’, the opening bars of which wouldn’t sound amiss as part of a score for some epic western. This is a terrific song, so it’s slightly surprising that he doesn’t devote more time to writing. Still, recording and touring probably keeps him busy enough.

      OK, so you thought this was going to be nothing more than a rave review. Well, there is one song which I really don’t like (which probably means it’s everyone else’s favourite and will be a humungous hit) and that’s ‘Suspicions’. Apologies to Messrs Malloy, McCormick, Rabbitt and Stevens, but to me this just sounds like one of those god-awful, soul-type thingies which I hear playing incessantly in the background every time I set foot in HMV. They all sound exactly the same to me and they all seem equally pointless. That’s the negative bit, now back to the rave review.

      The Dancehall Doctors are as polished and professional as ever and the playing on this album is some of the finest you’re ever likely to hear.

      The Dancehall Doctors? Isn’t this a medical outfit (a bit like St John’s Ambulance) which looks after people who’ve been injured on the dance floor?

      In short, no (although there should be just such an organisation). The Dancehall Doctors are the supremely good musicians you hear on the CD. Tim McGraw’s band has been with him for many years now (which presumably means he’s a good bloke to work for) but as well as touring they also do the business on this, and some of the earlier, albums. Apparently, it’s quite unusual for the musicians who do the live bit, to also do the studio stuff. The usual practice goes something like this: a bunch of extremely talented and (we hope, for their sake) extremely well paid session musicians come into the studio, play like crazy and then go away again. The next day, the ‘star’ comes in, sings into a microphone and then goes away again. For his album, ‘Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors’, Tim McGraw decided he was having none of it, packed the assembled doctors onto a bus and drove them all off to a remote recording studio away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The hope was that by letting them all jam away to their hearts content, without too much outside interference, they would come up with something a little bit special at the end of it. It worked then and it’s worked again now on ‘Let It Go’. So who are the Dancehall Doctors – do they have names? Yes, they are:

      Billy Mason (drums)
      Bob Minner (acoustic guitar)
      Darran Smith (electric guitar)
      David Dunkley (percussion)
      Dean Brown (fiddle, mandolin)
      Denny Hemingson (steel guitar, electric guitar)
      Jeff McMahon (piano and other keyboard-type things)
      John Marcus (bass)

      GETTING HOLD OF IT ALL

      So where can we get hold of Mr McGraw’s collected oeuvre?

      I would recommend Amazon.co.uk, particularly the marketplace sellers. These are individuals or companies selling new, nearly new, almost new, as good as new and used CDs for a fraction of the recommended price. You can often save yourself quite a bit, even if your chosen purchase has to wing its way across the Atlantic. Play.com or HMV.co.uk may also be worth a try.

      This is all well and good, but I don’t want to buy the CDs, I just want to download some of the songs onto my iPod – where should I begin?

      Here are my recommendations for Tim McGraw’s all-time, top-20 songs – the ones you really can’t afford to be without:

      Indian Outlaw (from, ‘Not a Moment Too Soon’) written by Tommy Barnes, Gene Simmons and John D Loudermilk)
      Corny, catchy and fun (definitely one to add to your ‘guilty pleasures’ list) – just avoid playing it in front of your Guardian-reading friends.

      Not a Moment Too Soon (from ‘Not a Moment Too Soon’) written by Wayne Perry and Joe Barnhill
      In many ways a fairly standard love song, but definitely hummable.

      Something Like That (from ‘A Place in the Sun’) written by Rick Ferrell and Keith Follesé
      One of those songs which hooks you from the first few chords and reels you in whether you like it or not. It also features some instantly memorable lyrics – ‘It was Labour Day weekend, I was 17 …’ I’m not sure what the British equivalent of Labour Day is – Bank Holiday Monday, possibly, but let’s face it, ‘It was Bank Holiday Monday, I was 17’ just hasn’t got the same ring to it.

      Please Remember Me (from ‘A Place in the Sun’) written by Rodney Crowell and Will Jennings
      A complete change of pace here. It’s one of those big, epic ballads, but with an introspective feel – a plea to be remembered by a former love. There’s a more ‘orchestral’ sound on this one, but it’s controlled rather than being over the top.

      My Next Thirty Years (from ‘A Place in the Sun’) written by Phil Vassar
      A really enjoyable song (even if you’re well over 30) in which Tim informs us that in his next thirty years he’s going to ‘eat a few more salads and not stay up so late’ and if he can only ‘drink a little lemonade and not so many beers’ maybe he’ll remember them as well. Perhaps now he’s notched up another decade, he’ll tell us what he’s got planned for the next 40 years.

      Let’s Make Love (duet with Faith Hill, from ‘Greatest Hits’) written by William Luther, Aimee Mayo, Mary Green and Chris Lindsey
      I couldn’t resist including this one as it features the immortal lines: ‘Let’s make love, all night long, until all our strength has gone!’ Good heavens! Do the two of them actually sing this one together, live?

      This is the last album on which (to my ears at least) Tim McGraw has an identifiably country twang to his voice. It’s gone by the time we get to …

      The Cowboy in Me (from ‘Set This Circus Down’) written by Craig Wiseman, Jeffrey Steele and Al Anderson
      Great tune, great lyrics - 'I got a life that most would love to have but sometimes I still wake up fightin' mad'. Marvellous stuff - you'll find yourself humming this when you least expect it.

      Telluride (from ‘Set This Circus Down’) written by Troy Verges and Brett James
      This is perfect for playing very loudly as you bomb round the M25. You won't be able to resist joining in with the chorus, which is about as catchy as they come. I have to sing it an octave lower, but Mr McGraw is clearly the 'King of the High Cs' and can hit all the high notes, with apparent ease.

      You Get Used to Somebody (from ‘Set This Circus Down’) written by Tom Shapiro and Steve Bogard is another great song - 'in the middle of the night without a warning I thought I heard you ...' (I worry for a moment that he's about to sing 'snoring', but mercifully, it turns out to be 'breathing').

      Unbroken (from ‘Set This Circus Down’) written by Holly Lamar and Annie Roboff
      Wow! If you don't want to belt this one out at high volume, there's something wrong with you. It's got a real caffeine kick to it, with some lyrics which are just the decent side of suggestive - 'I thank God for every day I wake up to the soft touch of your magic hands'. Enough said.

      Things Change (from ‘Set This Circus Down’) by Aimee Mayo, Bill Luther, Chris Lindsey and Mary Green
      Usually, I'm put off by anything which appears to have been written by a committee, but here, the exception proves the rule. This is a great song about the way in which those who fly in the face of convention eventually come to be accepted as part of the mainstream: 'Well they like to call them hippies, outlaws with guitars ... but somewhere somebody's playing their songs tonight'.

      Angel Boy (from ‘Set This Circus Down’) written by Danny Orton
      This is just a breathtakingly brilliant song about transgression and redemption, which features some seriously nifty guitar playing. Is the writer, Danny Orton, a Catholic, I ask myself? Here, lyrics which actually mean something are coupled with yet another unbelievably catchy chorus. 'I've held the hand of the devil, felt his breath on my skin. Dip me into the water, wash me again'. Wonderful. I can’t get enough of this one.

      As you may have gathered by now, I rather like this CD and could have included all the tracks, but I’m going to have to restrain myself or I’ll be over the limit of 20, so although 'Forget About Us' by Mark Collie and 'Take Me Away From Here' by Steve Bogard and Jeff Stevens are excellent, I’ve left them off the list.

      Smilin’ (from ‘Set This Circus Down’) written by Aimee Mayo, Bill Luther, Chris Lindsey and Mary Green
      The committee is back! I’ve got to hand it to the four of them; they've come up with a corker. If you're someone who likes to do their own thing, you'll identify with the sentiments of this song: ' Guru man on my TV set, selling the secrets to happiness ... Dreams I've got my own, I ain't looking for a yellow brick road'. Ridiculously hummable as well as being uplifting.

      Let Me Love You (from ‘Set This Circus Down’) written by Aimee Mayo, Bill Luther, Chris Lindsey and Mary Green
      There’s just no stopping this lot, they’ve done it again with this gloriously erotic Latin-inspired number. With highly charged lyrics like 'Let me show you what it's like to lose control, free the desire in your soul', having a cold glass of water to hand when you listen to it may be a good idea. I imagine it might actually be dangerous to sing this one live - things could indeed get out of control.

      That’s Why God Made Mexico (from ‘Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors’) written by James T Slater
      This has a nice, slow, slightly bluesy feel to it. Apparently, Mexico is somewhere to escape to when life in the fast lane just get too much for you. You can ‘lay low’ and dance the Fandango, amongst other things. I’m not sure how the Mexicans feel about this, but I enjoyed it.

      Who Are They (from ‘Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors’) written by Brad and Brett Warren and Danny Tate
      This is an absolute hoot – a real kick against the tyranny of political correctness. ‘They say not to have too much fun, they say not to get too much sun. Democrat, Republican. Guess I’m screwed, I’m neither one.’ Excellent!
      N.B. – can I make it clear at this point, that I have nothing against people who live in LA (you’ll understand why I say this when you listen to the song)

      There are lots of other cracking songs (such as ‘Real Good Man’) on this CD, but I’m nearly up to the 20 song limit, so I’ll move straight on to …

      Live Like You Were Dying (from ‘Live Like You Were Dying’) written by Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman
      What can I say. This is just plain brilliant. Lyrically perfect and musically memorable, it’s a wonderful, uplifting song about living life to the fullest and making the most of every day, because it could be your last. Somebody give these two songwriters a medal immediately.

      My Old Friend (from ‘Live Like You Were Dying’) written by Steve McEwan and Craig Wiseman
      Mr Wiseman does it again, albeit with a different partner and gives us a classic number about the importance of friendship. Tim McGraw delivers it perfectly. No surprise there then.

      Drugs or Jesus (from ‘Live Like You Were Dying’) written by Brett James, Aimee Mayo, Troy Verges and Chris Lindsey)
      Another committee (perhaps all Tim’s writers are part of some giant Nashville songwriting collective) another utterly brilliant song and another flawless interpretation from Mr McGraw. ‘Everybody just wants to get high … We’re all looking for love and meaning in our lives. We follow the roads that lead us, to drugs or Jesus’. That just about sums up the human condition then.

      Blank Sheet of Paper (from ‘Live Like You Were Dying’) by Don Schutz, Brad Warren and Brett Warren
      I had to include this, because it’s one of the most unusual songs (lyrically speaking) that I’ve ever come across. How many songs can you think of, which are written from the point of view of a black sheet of paper? ‘I am just a blank sheet of paper. This fool’s about to write you a letter … He’s been looking down at me seems like forever … But he just stares at me and I just stare at him’. It’s a classic!

      There are three humorous songs on ‘Live Like You Were Dying’ which I’ve sneakily grouped together as one item in order to keep to my original limit of 20 songs. They all score very highly on the Child chuckle index. They are: Back When, by Jeff Stevens, Stephony Smith and Stan Lynch (about the good old days before everything got too complicated); Everybody Hates Me, by Casey Beathard and Ed Hill (a lighthearted, but spot-on number about how somebody’s always our very best friend until they get promoted, at which point we start to hate them) and Do You Want Fries With That? By Casey Beathard and Kerry Kurt Phillips (a real laugh-out-loud comedy number, with an underlying pathos – it’s the musical equivalent of one of those great Alan Ayckbourn comedies which manages to be funny and desperately sad at the same time).

      OK, so I’m now up to 20, but I’m having too much fun to stop, so here’s just a brief reference to three of the four news songs which were included on ‘Reflected: Greatest Hits II’ and which you should download in order to make your life complete: ‘When The Stars Go Blue’ by Ryan Adams, ‘Beautiful People’ by Craig Wiseman and Chris Lindsey and ‘I’ve Got Friends That Do’ by ? (the CD liner notes don’t appear to tell me who penned this excellent number, but I read on the internet somewhere that it was co-written by Tim McGraw himself, in which case, he’s being excessively modest by not telling us that).

      I’ve no doubt I’ve missed off somebody’s favourite song and I’ll probably get angry messages from rabid Tim McGraw fans, foaming at the mouth that I’ve forgotten to mention what they consider to be an all-time classic. Well, that’s democracy folks. You can argue about it at your leisure.

      If you’ve been able to stay awake this long, I hope I’ve convinced you that life won’t be worth living if you don’t get hold of a copy of ‘Let It Go’ (and pretty much everything else) as soon as possible.

      What are you waiting for!

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 Last Dollar (Fly Away)
      2 I'm Workin'
      3 Let It Go
      4 Whiskey And You
      5 Suspicions
      6 Kristofferson
      7 Put Your Lovin' On Me
      8 Nothin' To Die For
      9 Between The River And Me
      10 Train #10
      11 I Need You - McGraw, Tim & Faith Hill
      12 Comin' Home
      13 Shotgun Ride