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21 August 2020, 10:01 | Updated: 7 January 2021, 16:42
Tim McGraw has sold more than 50 million records worldwide and dominated the charts with 43 worldwide number one singles and 16 number one album releases.
Now, the 53-year-old is releasing a brand new album and sat down virtually with Smooth Country to speak about the changes he made with the extra time at home, and his working relationship with Faith Hill.
Speaking exclusively to Smooth Country's Eamonn Kelly, Tim said: "We’ve been working on this album for two-and-a-half to three years. Faith and I did two years of the Soul2Soul tour, and during that time, we did a duets album, which was a lot of fun to make, and a lot of hard work. The tour was really busy and a lot of hard work.
"Towards the end of the last leg of the Soul2Soul tour, I started collecting songs, and I started getting songs that were starting to tell a story to me. So I wanted to go ahead and start recording those songs.
"You know, once you start phasing out of one thing as a creative person, you start thinking about what you’re going to do next. And so I had these songs, and I started thinking about what I wanted them to sound like, and what I wanted the production value to be. I started thinking about all those things.
Watch Tim McGraw's full Smooth Country interview above.
"And secondly, I knew that I’d been working with Faith for two years, and she is one of the best singers on the planet. So I knew that having worked with her for those two years, and I knew from experience working with her that I’m always a much, much better singer after just finishing working with her – she’s so good, and you have to keep up with her on stage very night, and you have to be on point every night, because you don’t want to get that look from her if you’re not on point."
Tim and Faith have been married since 1996 and have three daughters together.
He continued: "So I was ready to go in and record. And what I wanted to do is, I wanted to cut an album of this vignette of stories – sort of these cinematic scenes that you could walk through, throughout the album, and sort of paint a picture with each song."
Tim, who has won three Grammy Awards, 16 Academy of Country Music Awards and 14 Country Music Association Awards, went on to note how he didn't want to create a concept album - but did strive to find a theme.
The singer explained: "The songs started collecting themselves, and they started showing up, and the music started making more and more sense to me.
"Now, I didn’t want to make, necessarily, a concept album. But I did want it to have some sort of theme. Some of the songs are like a 30,000-ft view of life, and they’re a little bit more ethereal about life.
"Some songs, you sort of take a dive in, and they’re more intimate, and they get behind the arc of a relationship, or what goes on in your head in a relationship, and those sorts of things.
"And then once we had the pandemic hit, we did go back and look at a lot of things that we had already mixed. Because we thought, 'Are we missing... because of what’s going on in the world, are we missing any emotional points that we haven’t addressed, or maybe that we missed in the mixing of the album that we would have maybe mixed differently, knowing what’s happening in the world right now?'"
Tim revealed that the extra time while the world around him was looking a little different did indeed prompt changes.
He said: "There were a few that did change, mix-wise. Some stayed the same.
"And then we thought about: 'OK, do we want to put an album out amidst all of this? Is it the right time? Is it the right thing to do?'
"And the more we lived with this music, and the more we started shaving down what was actually going to be on the album – because we had recorded 27, 28 songs. And we loved all of them. So having to narrow this album down – I think the times and the situation helped us to narrow the album down."
Tim went on to reveal the inspiration behind the title of his album, as well as his favourite song from the record.
The country music star continued to Smooth Country: "I think naming the album Here On Earth, and what the album said, and the vignettes of life that it proposed – and as an artist, to try to make a record that, on one hand, is a little bit of escapism; like, right from the strings of 'LA', right off into the album, you can dive into the album and get lost in it.
"But at the same time, it puts its finger on the pulse of a lot of things that people are going through in their personal lives, and in their relationships. Doing both of those things at the same time is a pretty tough task.
"And I think, with this album, it does those things. At this time, at this point of time that we live in, I just felt like it was actually the perfect time to put this record out.
"'LA' is probably one of my favourite records I’ve ever made in my entire career. I absolutely love the intro to that song. It puts you in mind of all those great Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb songs from the ‘70s.
"I love singing it. I love, sonically, the way it sounds. And it sets up what I think this album sort of feels like to me in a lot of ways: it’s timeless.
"I mean, 10 years ago or 20 years ago, that could have been a big song. 10 years from now, 20 years from now, that song could still be relevant."
Tim's first solo album in five years, Here On Earth, tells stories of shared human emotions such as love, relationships, introspection and fun.
The album embraces our ever-changing "new normal" as a reminder that we are here on this earth to take care of each other.
Here On Earth track-listing:
2. ‘Chevy Spaceship’
3. ‘Here On Earth’
4. ‘Damn Sure Do’
6. ‘Good Taste In Women’
7. ‘Hard To Stay Mad At’
8. ‘Sheryl Crow’
9. ‘Not From California’
10. ‘Hold You Tonight’
11. ‘7500 OBO’
12. ‘If I Was A Cowboy’
13. ‘I Called Mama’
15. ‘War Of Art’