To celebrate the release of his delightful new album Damn Country Music, Tim McGraw and Pandora threw a party last night (11/11) for 500 lucky attendees in the heart of Manhattan. The intimate, ornate Edison Ballroom was packed to the brim with McGraw devotees who had lined up since the wee hours of the morning, and faithfully sang every word that their hero would sing on stage.
The title of the album is powerful, but apt for the fervor and intensity that McGraw still brings to the live stage and to his recorded output over two decades into his illustrious career. With a new record deal over the past three years, his passion has not diminished even one bit, with the impression that he still feels he has something to prove, which makes his music all the more worthwhile.
The evening was an impressive juxtaposition of the many faces and sides to Tim McGraw. On one hand were the rowdy Truck Yeah and classic Down on the Farm but also the poignant and sentimental Just To See You Smile and recent hit Shotgun Rider. In a performance lasting just under an hour, McGraw managed to sing no less than eight songs that reached number-two or higher on the radio charts, including mega-hits Something Like That, Where the Green Grass Grows and powerful, set-closer Live Like You Were Dying that encouraged a crowd singalong en masse.
The three new songs that McGraw sang spoke volumes to the direction in which he is headed in the years to come. The new album’s title track is a testament to perseverance and determination, a song that would come off as trite or disingenuous if sang by a younger artist, but fits like a glove within McGraw’s wheelhouse. His voice has aged well over the years, and his sometimes gravelly tone is perfect for speaking to the hardships that country music (or any career, as he pointed out) can put one through. The harmony-driven Here Tonight and California were also lovely, and highlighted McGraw’s phenomenal band.
A celebration of music both new and old, Tim McGraw faithfully reminded his fans of his past successes, but more importantly looked to an exciting future.
By Matt Waga