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Tim McGraw On Why He Cringes Listening To His Old Music

Tim McGraw stopped by The Bobby Bones Show today (March 10) to talk about his new album on the way, why he doesn't listen to his old music or watch his movies, and we find out the movie he almost starred in.  

McGraw started a mystery last week when he posted the playlist, “McGraw Three-ten Twenty three.” It was a mix of songs from every decade of his career. The playlist ended up being more than it seemed, when fans discovered that the first letter of each song spelled out the title of McGraw’s next single, “Standing Room Only,” that is out today. He admits he was shocked at how fast people cracked the code, but he was also excited because he loves the song so much and can’t wait for others to enjoy it too. McGraw took a trip down memory lane to create the playlist, calling the coolest part of it was going back through old songs and remembering how much he loved them, but also cringing at some of his old work. He doesn’t go back to listen very often, only when he’s getting ready to do a new project. He will go back and listen to the last album he put out and make notes of what he liked and what he wished he had done differently.  

While revisiting his previous songs, McGraw would cringe because of the way his voice sounded. He knows his voice has gotten better and stronger now and he credits that to how much he loves to sing. He said it’s therapy for him when he goes into the studio to record songs. For McGraw, there is nothing that beats going on a live stage and performing for an audience, especially on a great night. He quoted one of his favorite lines from his new song to show how he feels about it, “On nights like this I catch a thunder bolt.” He said that’s what happens on stage most nights, the nights where everything is magic is what he lives for and keeps him going on to the next night. What makes a night magic for McGraw is how his ears sound he said. When he has to push really hard on his ears to get a good sound, that’s when he struggles. Some nights you just have perfect sound, you’re hitting every point and the audience is great.  

When he listened to the first verse of his new song, “Standing Room Only,” he felt good about it and knew he wanted to make it the next single. He said throughout his career he’s been very lucky to have songs he’s very proud of that have a message to say. Country music has been going through a resurgence of popular 90s artists making a comeback, but for McGraw, there is no comeback because he never left. He has more accolades than most could dream of since his start in 1990. He was the most played song in the 2000s decade in any musical genre for his song “Something Like That.” He said he feels fortunate that throughout the years he’s gotten to work with great songwriters, and that he still gets a chance to be here. 

While in the studio, McGraw also talked about his high school sport days. The most points he scored in a high school basketball game was 52. He said it was before three-point-shots were a thing, and admits he wasn’t the greatest outside shot, he just had one of those nights where everything came together. He averaged 27 his senior year. Bones said it reminded him of Pistole Pete, which was a funny thing he brought up, because McGraw once got offered a movie role to play him in a movie they were going to do about him, but it ended up never happening. 

McGraw is also known for his movie roles and called auditioning one of the hardest things in the world. Admitting he feels his best roles were the ones he didn’t have to audition for. He doesn't like to watch the movies he’s in because he just notices all the mistakes. He’s never seen his movie Four Christmases but did see the trailer for it when he took his kids to see a movie and it played in the previews. He had no idea it was going to play, and his daughter told him he needed to lose weight.  

He hasn’t performed his new single yet and isn’t sure where it’s going to go in his set list. He said putting together a setlist is no easy task. He tries to create a roller coaster for the crowd. He’ll start off strong, and then throw in some hits, put in some slower songs, and then go out with a big ending.  

It feels like we’re experiencing a new season of McGraw music. He is finishing his album now and has cut about 30 songs. He’s still weeding out the final ones he wants on the finished album, which he said is hard because he only brings songs into the studio that he really loves, and hates leaving any music on the floor.