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McGraw, Tim

Tim McGraw

Singer

Began Singing in the Mid-1980s

Offended Native Americans with Song

Broadened Musical Interests

Continued Success

Selected discography

Sources

As the lyrics from one of country artist Tim McGraw’s number one number one singles says, “I like it, I love it, I want some more of it.” The catchy refrain summarizes the feelings many of McGraw’s fans have towards his music. The popularity of what Entertainment Weekly’s James Hunter dubbed a “grassroots superstar” pushed McGraw’s second album, Not a Moment Too Soon, up the charts to become not only the bestselling country album of 1994, but the sixth bestselling album of the year, according to Billboard. Although the release would also earn McGraw the ire of several Native American groups by including the “very un-PC” dance single “Indian Outlaw,” the tenor rode out that controversy and has gone on to achieve even greater popularity among young country music fans—all without the help of what Hunter terms “wraparound grooming, marketing, and spin that routinely accompanies major-label careers.” Subsequent album releases, including All I Want, Everywhere, Place in the Sun, Set This Circus Down, and Tim McGraw & the Dancehall Doctors, and McGraw’s marriage to country-pop superstar Faith Hill have only increased his fame and record sales, which had reached 25 million albums sold worldwide as of 2003.

The son of professional baseball player Tug McGraw, a pitcher for both the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies during his 20-year career, Tim McGraw was born on May 1, 1967, in Delhi, Louisiana. Raised in rural Start, Louisiana, by his mother, Betty Trimble (who never married Tim’s father), young McGraw would finally meet his father for the first time when he was eleven years old. Apart from singing in his church choir and listening to the radio, McGraw, like most of his friends, showed more interest in collecting baseball cards than learning guitar licks. After graduating from high school with honors, he enrolled in the pre-law program at Northeast Louisiana University, receiving much-needed financial assistance from the father who had once abandoned him.

Began Singing in the Mid-1980s

It was in college that McGraw’s focus began to shift; by his junior year he had bought a guitar, strummed a few chords, and finally discovered where his true interests lay. He left for Nashville in 1989, where he knew he’d get an education in country music. Two years of singing in a bar in Printers Alley gained McGraw enough experience and exposure for Curb Records to take a chance on him. They signed the vocalist in 1990 and released his self-titled debut album three years later. “It almost seemed too easy,” McGraw recalled to Van Rose in Country Song Roundup. “But I found out later just how tough the music business is. It took me a long time to get a hit record.”

McGraw made a moderate showing on the country music charts with singles like “Welcome to the Club,”

For the Record…

Born on May 1, 1967, in Delhi, LA; raised in Start, LA; son of Tug McGraw (a professional baseball player) and Betty Trimble; married Faith Hill (a singer), 1996; children: Gracie, Maggie, Audrey. Education: Attended Northeast Louisiana University, 1986-89.

Began performing in Nashville clubs, 1989; signed with Curb Records, 1990; released debut album, Tim McGraw, 1993; released first number one single, “Indian Outlaw,” 1994; released All I Want, 1995; Everywhere, 1997; Place in the Sun, 1999; Greatest Hits compilation, 2000; Set This Circus Down, 2001; and Tim McGraw & the Dancehall Doctors, 2002.

Awards: Academy of Country Music, Top New Male Vocalist, 1994, Single of the Year, Song of the Year, Video of the Year, Top Vocal Event, 1998, Male Vocalist, Vocal Collaboration, 1999, Male Vocalist, 2000; American Music Awards, Best New Country Artist, 1994, Favorite New Country Artist, 1995, Favorite Male Country Artist, 2001, Best Country Album, Favorite Male Country Artist, 2002, Favorite Male Country Artist, 2003; Billboard Awards, Best New Artist, 1994, Single of the Year, 1997, Country Single of the Year, Country Music Association Awards, Album of the Year, 1998, Male Artist of the Year, 2000, Country Artist, Male Country Artist, Country Albums Artist, Country Album, Country Single Artist, 2001; Country Music Association Awards, Vocal Event, 1997, Male Vocalist, Album of The Year, 1999, Male Vocalist, 2000, Entertainer of the Year, 2001; Country Radio Music Award, Best New Country Artist, 1994; Grammy Award, Best Country Collaboration with Vocals (with Faith Hill), 2001.

Addresses: Record company—Curb Records, 47 Music Square E., Nashville, TN 37203. Website—Tim McGraw Official Website: http://www.timmcgraw.com.

“Memory Lane,” and “Two-Steppin’ Mind.” But it would take the singer’s second album, 1994’s Not a Moment Too Soon, to make McGraw a recognizable name among the throngs of “New Country” artists crowding the coveted country radio waves.

Offended Native Americans with Song

Not a Moment Too Soon jumped to number one on both the country and pop charts during its first week of release, helped not a little by the controversy surrounding its number-one debut single, “Indian Outlaw,” a novelty song penned by friend Tommy Barnes. While its lyrics outraged the membership of several Native American groups throughout the Southwest with stereotypical references to wigwams and tomahawks—Wilma P. Mankiller, chief of the Cherokee Nation, referred to the song as “extremely offensive” in an article in People—“Indian Outlaw” inspired a new dance craze among country listeners.

The sentimental ballad “Don’t Take the Girl”—which was quickly released to radio as the album’s second single, in order to take some of the heat off “Indian Outlaw”—would also reach number one, giving McGraw enough popular appeal to earn honors for best new country vocalist from the Academy of Country Music, Billboard, and the American Music Awards. Not a Moment Too Soon lived up to its name, gaining triple-platinum status within six months of its release and making McGraw the first country artist in over ten years to earn two gold records within three months of each other.

“After ‘Indian Outlaw,’ I wasn’t taken as seriously as I wanted to be,” McGraw told Hunter. “It never feels good when somebody writes off what you do as a whim or a fad. The reaction challenged me to prove that I was serious about being an artist.” All I Want, which was released in 1995, was his attempt to do just that. Going to platinum on the aftershock of Not a Moment Too Soon, All I Want received only mixed reviews from critics, who questioned whether or not the young artist was perhaps a “one-hit wonder.”

While repeatedly praised for the expressive single “All I Want Is a Life,” a middle-class lament on an ever-declining standard of living, “the songs, with few exceptions, are safe, radio-friendly, and emotionally undemanding,” commented reviewer Bob Allen in Country Music, adding, “Too frequently their only substance lies in their souped-up arrangements and McGraw’s pleasant, journeyman singing.” However, fans responded with a much more positive reaction; the lighthearted, sing-along tune “I Like It, I Love It” bounded up the charts, helping All I Want post sales of two million copies by the end of 1995.

Broadened Musical Interests

Amid the success of his fast-tracking country music career, McGraw has remained surprisingly realistic. With a positive attitude that helped him to weather the aftermath of his lukewarm debut effort, the artist has accepted both the glamour of the music business as well as its inherent responsibilities. “The more I am in this business, the more I realize that ninety percent of what we do is having the guts to get up there and do it,” he explained to Country Song Roundup contributor Valerie Hansen. “I’m not that much more talented than anybody else. There are people out there working at 7-11 stores that can sing circles around me. I just try to do the best that I can do, and hope that that’s good enough for a majority of the people.” In 1995 McGraw started his own management company, Breakfast Table Management, and was finalizing plans to coproduce a debut album for country star Jody Messina.

McGraw released Everywhere in 1997, which featured wife Faith Hill, whom he married in 1996, as a guest vocalist on the single “It’s Your Love.” “I think it’s a beautiful song… She made the record as far as I’m concerned,” McGraw told Billboard. The song was an enormous hit, spending six weeks at number one on the country charts and becoming the most played single since Billboard began monitoring airplay. The album was also a huge success, earning multiplatinum sales certification.

Debuting at number one on both the Billboard Pop and country charts, A Place in the Sun followed in 1999. The album had four singles—“Please Remember Me,” “Something Like That,” “My Best Friend,” and “My Next Thirty Years”—all hit number one. According to Stephen Thomas Erlewine of All Music Guide, the album was better than Everywhere and “sounds good and has a number of highlights,” but said that the “music in the same vein as his previous efforts” and had “nearly the same ratio of hits to misses.”

In 2000, McGraw and country singer Kenny Chesney were involved in scuffle with the Mounted Reserve police in Orchard Park, New York, at the George Strait Chevy Truck County Music Festival. McGraw allegedly challenged police when they tried to remove Chesney from a horse belonging to one of the Reserve officers; McGraw contended in a statement that Chesney had permission to ride the horse. McGraw was charged with second-degree assault, obstructing governmental administration, menacing and resisting arrest, and Chesney was charged with disorderly conduct. Both singers were acquitted.

Continued Success

McGraw continued his string of successful album releases with a multiplatinum-selling greatest hits compilation in 2000, the multiplatinum Set This Circus Down in 2001, and Tim McGraw & the Dancehall Doctors in 2002. On Set, said Deborah Evans of Billboard, McGraw “wraps his affecting country-boy vocals around a stellar collection of songs.” Highlights included the single “Angry All the Time,” on which Hill again provided vocals, “Grown Men Don’t Cry,” “Telluride,” “Unbroken,” and “Angel Boy.” McGraw told Evans about the album: “I wanted to make a real Americana kind of record, something that felt grass roots, [with] a lot of different kinds of music… I just wanted to make a record that was me and my influences.” Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors marked a turn from what Sara Brady of America’s Intelligence Wire called Set This Circus Down’s “balance between soulful, melting ballads and rocking anthems,” to a more melancholy feel. Like “Indian Outlaw,” one of the album’s singles, “Red Ragtop,” about a teenage love affair, a tryst in a convertible, and an abortion, stirred controversy. But Brady felt the track was one of McGraw’s “most honest and elemental performances on the album.” Mark Satrang of America’s Intelligence Wire said about Dancehall Doctors: “It is missing maybe a true, fast-paced, high-energy song, but on the flip side, the real syrupy ballads are also kept to a minimum. It’s a great blend of sounds….”

When not busy recording, performing, or spending time with his wife and three children, McGraw also works with a number of charities, including Swamp-stock, which has raised money for a little league base ball park, equipment, and a scholarship for students in northeast Louisiana, and a benefit fund for the families of sailors killed in the USS Cole bombing in 2000.

Selected discography

Tim McGraw, Curb, 1993.

Not a Moment Too Soon, Curb, 1994.

All I Want, Curb, 1995.

Everywhere, Curb, 1997.

Place in the Sun, Curb, 1999.

Greatest Hits, Curb, 2000.

Set This Circus Down, Curb, 2001.

Tim McGraw & the Dancehall Doctors, Curb, 2002.

Sources

Books

Barnard, Russell J., and others, editors, The Comprehensive Country Music Encyclopedia, Times Books, 1994.

Periodicals

American Intelligence Wire, January 1, 2003; January 2, 2003.

Billboard, March 19, 1994, p. 38; August 19, 1995; April 7, 2001; October 12, 2002.

Country Music, July/August 1994; July/August 1995, pp. 16-17; January/February 1996, p. 18.

Country Song Roundup, December 1995, pp. 22-25; June 1996, p. 40.

Detroit Free Press, May 20, 1994.

Entertainment Weekly, November 10, 1995.

People, April 25, 1994; December 9, 2002.

Online

“Tim McGraw,” All Music Guide,http://www.allmusic.com (April 30, 2003).

Tim McGraw Official Website, http://www.timmcgraw.com (April 30, 2003).

Additional information for this profile was provided by FORCE, Nashville, TN.

Pamela Shelton

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McGraw, Tim

Tim McGraw

Singer

Begins Singing in the Mid-1980s

Offends Native Americans with Indian Outlaw

Broadens Musical Interests

Selected discography

Sources

As the lyrics from one of country artist Tim McGraws number one singles says, I like it, I love it, I want some more of it. The catchy refrain summarizes the feelings many of McGraws fans have towards his music. The fast-growing popularity of what Entertainment Weeklys James Hunter dubbed a grassroots superstar pushed McGraws second album, Not a Moment Too Soon, up the charts to become not only the bestselling country album of 1994, but the sixth best-selling album of the year, according to Billboard. Although the release would also earn McGraw the ire of several Native American groups by including the very un-PC dance single Indian Outlaw, the tenor rodeout that controversy and has gone on to achieve even greater popularity among young country music fans all without the help of what Hunter terms wraparound grooming, marketing, and spin that routinely accompanies major-label careers.

The son of professional baseball player Tug McGraw, a pitcher for both the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies during his 20-year-long career, Tim McGraw was born in Jacksonville, Florida, on May 1, 1966. Raised in rural Start, Louisiana, by his mother, Betty Trimble (who never married Tims father), young McGraw would finally meet his father for the first time when he was eleven years old. Apart from singing in his church choir and listening to the radio, McGraw, like most of his friends, showed more interest in collecting baseball cards than learning guitar licks. After graduating from high school with honors, he enrolled in the pre-law program at Northeast Louisiana University, receiving much-needed financial assistance from the father who had once abandoned him.

Begins Singing in the Mid-1980s

It was in college that McGraws focus began to shift; by his junior year he had bought a guitar, strummed a few chords, and finally discovered where his true interests lay. He left for Nashville in 1989, where he knew hed get an education in country music. Two years of singing in a bar in Printers Alley gained McGraw enough experience and exposure for Curb Records to take a chance on him. They signed the vocalist in 1990 and released his self-titled debut album three years later. It almost seemed too easy, McGraw recalled to Van Rose in Country Song Roundup. But I found out later just how tough the music business is. It took me a long time to get a hit record.

Tim McGrawmatie a moderate showing on the country music charts with singles like Welcome to the Club, Memory Lane, and Two-Steppin Mind. But it would take the singers second album, 1994s Not a Moment

For the Record

Born May 1, 1966, in Jacksonville, FL; raised in Start, LA; son of Tug McGraw (a professional baseball player) and Betty Trimble. Education: Attended Northeast Louisiana University, 1986-89.

Began performing in Nashville clubs, 1989; signed with Curb Records, 1990; released debut album, Tim McGraw, 1993; released first Number One single, Indian Outlaw, 1994; has appeared on numerous television specials and talk shows.

Awards: Country Radio Music Award and American Music Award, both for best new country artist; best new artist award, Billboard; male video artist of the year award, Country Music Television (CMT); and top new male vocalist, Academy of Country Music, all 1994. American Country Music album of the year award, 1994, for Not a Moment Too Soon; best song award, TNN/ Music City News Songwriter Awards, 1994, for Dont Take the Girl; Star of Tomorrow Award, TNN/Music City News, 1995; SRO award for new touring artist, 1995.

Addresses: Record company Curb Records, 47 Music Square E., Nashville, TN 37203. Management Breakfast Table Management, 1219 16th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37212.

Too Soon, to make McGraw a recognizable name among the throngs of New Country artists crowding the coveted country radio waves.

Offends Native Americans with Indian Outlaw

Not a Moment Too Soon jumped to Number One status on both the country and pop charts during its first week of release, helped not a little by the controversy surrounding its Number One debut single, IndianOutlaw, a novelty song penned by friend Tommy Barnes. While its lyrics outraged the membership of several Native American groups throughout the Southwest with stereotypical references to wigwams and tomahawksWilma P. Mankiller, chief of the Cherokee Nation, referred to the song as extremely offensive in an article in People -Indian Outlaw inspired a new dance craze among country listeners.

The sentimental ballad Dont Take the Girlwhich was quickly released to radio as the albums second single, in order to take some of the heat off Indian Outlawwould also reach Number One, giving McGraw enough popular appeal to earn honors for best new country vocalist from the Academy of Country Music, Billboard, and the American Music Awards. Not a Moment Too Soon lived up to its name, gaining triple-platinum status within six months of its release and making McGraw the first country artist in over ten years to earn two gold records within three months of each other.

After Indian Outlaw, I wasnt taken as seriously as I wanted to be, McGrawtold Hunter. It never feels good when somebody writes off what you do as a whim or a fad. The reaction challenged me to prove that I was serious about being an artist. All I Want, which was released in 1995, was his attempt to do just that. Going to platinum on the aftershock of Not a Moment Too Soon, All I Want received only mixed reviews from critics, who questioned whether or not the young artist was perhaps a one-hit wonder.

While repeatedly praised for the expressive single All I Want Is a Life, a middle-class lament on an ever-declining standard of living, the songs, with few exceptions, are safe, radio-friendly, and emotionally undemanding, commented reviewer Bob Allen in Country Music, adding, Too frequently their only substance lies in their souped-up arrangements and McGraws pleasant, journeyman singing. However, fans responded with a much more positive reaction; the lighthearted, sing-along tune I Like It, I Love It bounded up the charts, helping All I Want post sales of two million copies by the end of 1995.

Broadens Musical Interests

Amid the success of his fast-tracking country music career, McGraw has remained surprisingly realistic. With a positive attitude that helped him to weather the aftermath of his lukewarm debut effort, the artist has accepted both the glamour of the music business as well as its inherent responsibilities. The more I am in this business, the more I realize that ninety percent of what we do is having the guts to get up there and do it, he explained to Country Song Roundup contributor Valerie Hansen. Im not that much more talented than anybody else. There are people out there working at 7-11 stores that can sing circles around me. I just try to do the best that I can do, and hope that thats good enough for a majority of the people.

Still holding on to theforward momentum of his first three albums, McGraw tours throughout much of the year as one of country musics most visible performers. On the few days he spends off the road each month, he shares his permanent residencea 200-acre farm located thirty miles outside of Nashvillewith four dogs and assorted ducks, horses, and cows. While he continues to enjoy performing, McGraw has broadened his interest in the music business. In 1995 he started his own management company, Breakfast Table Management, and was finalizing plans to coproduce a debut album for Nashville newcomer Jody Messina. As for his music? I dont think I sound like anybody else, and that allows me to do a lot of different type songs, McGraw told Deborah Evans Price in Billboard. Thats exactly what I want to do. I dont want anybody to get bored with me.

Selected discography

Tim McGraw, Curb, 1993.

Not a Moment Too Soon (includes xIndian Outlaw and Dont Take the Girl), Curb, 1994.

All I Want (includes All I Want Is a Life and I Like It, I Love It), Curb, 1995.

Sources

Books

Barnard, Russell J., and others, editors, The Comprehensive Country Music Encyclopedia, Times Books, 1994.

Periodicals

Billboard, March 19, 1994, p. 38; August 19, 1995.

Country Music, July/August 1994; July/August 1995, pp. 16-17; January/February 1996, p. 18.

Country Song Roundup, December 1995, pp. 22-25; June 1996, p. 40.

Detroit Free Press, May 20, 1994. Entertainment Weekly November 10, 1995. People, April 25, 1994.

Additional information forthis profile was provided by FORCE, Nashville, TN.

Pamela Shelton

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McGraw, Tim

TIM McGRAW

Born: Delhi, Louisiana, 1 May 1967

Genre: Country

Best-selling album since 1990: Not a Moment Too Soon (1994)

Hit songs since 1990: "Indian Outlaw," "It's Your Love," "Don't Take the Girl"


Tim McGraw began his career with all the earmarks of a one-hit wonder. But, by the end of the 1990s, the Louisiana-bred singer had succeeded Garth Brooks as country music's most successful male solo artist. The son of the major league baseball pitcher Tug McGraw, Tim grew up in Start, Louisiana, his attention divided between music and athletics. He attended Northeast Louisiana University on an athletic scholarship, and it was there that he taught himself to play the guitar. His stints at local bars and clubs fired his musical ambitions, and McGraw moved to Nashville in 1989 to pursue a career in music; within three years he signed with Curb Records and released his self-titled debut album, which spawned three minor country radio hits.

McGraw achieved major commercial success in 1994 with the release of Not a Moment Too Soon and its controversial single, "Indian Outlaw." A hard-charging dance number backed by a martial drumbeat, "Indian Outlaw" enraged Native American groups for what they considered to be stereotypical lyrics: "You can find me in my wigwam / I'll be beatin' on my tom-tom." Fueled by the controversy, fans purchased the single in droves. Though critics dismissed McGraw as a novelty act, "Indian Outlaw" reached number eight on the country charts as well as number fifteen on the pop charts.

With the follow-up single, "Don't Take the Girl," McGraw moved away from the hokey, redneck style of "Indian Outlaw" and positioned himself as a more serious, dramatic performer. A stirring tale of the love shared by a man and a woman from childhood, "Don't Take the Girl" showcases McGraw's robust voice and sincere, unsentimental delivery in narrating a tragedy that befalls the young: "I'll gladly take her place if you'll let me / Make this my last request." On the strength of its two hit singles, Not a Moment Too Soon became the year's best-selling country album.

While touring in support of his follow-up album All I Want (1995), which spawned three number one country singles, McGraw became romantically involved with his tour mate and fellow country singer Faith Hill. The pair married on October 6, 1996, in Rayville, Louisiana. McGraw wasted no time in making use of his wife's vocal talents: The pair recorded the duet "It's Your Love" for McGraw's 1997 album Everywhere. Set to plaintive violins and weepy steel guitars, the stirring "It's Your Love" celebrates the newlyweds' bliss. "It's Your Love" became Billboard 's most-played country single, and, on the strength of it and four other hit singles, Everywhere climbed to number two on Billboard 's pop charts.

By the time he had released A Place in the Sun (1999), which features the Top 10 pop hit "Please Remember Me," McGraw had effectively supplanted Garth Brooks as country's leading male artist. In part McGraw's celebrity transcended his music. His rugged good looks and "bad boy" image earned him the designation of Sexiest Country Star by People magazine in 2000. Moreover, McGraw's marriage to Hill further raised his profile; the pair became one of popular culture's power couples in the late 1990s, performing and appearing together at numerous award shows and benefits.

While McGraw had evolved into a cosmopolitan celebrity, artistically he remained true to his country roots; though his music appealed to pop audiences, McGraw did not attempt to curry favor with them in the way that his wife or Shania Twain did. McGraw's music, like that of Garth Brooks, forsook raw, acoustic country instrumentation in favor of a crisp, radio-ready production that would not seem out of place on rock or pop radio. Like Brooks, however, McGraw refused to hide his vocal twang or avoid traditional country-styled lyrics, as evidenced by his songs "Don't Mention Memphis," "Give It to Me Strait," and "It Doesn't Get Any Countrier Than This." McGraw was a crossover success in the late 1990s, but there was no doubt of his true nature; while critics endlessly debated whether Twain and Hill were country or pop artists, McGraw was clearly a country artist.

McGraw released his eighth album, Tim McGraw & the Dancehall Doctors, in 2002. For the recording, he forsook the standard Nashville reliance on session musicians, instead calling on his touring band to capture the energy of his live performances. In a nod to his ever-broadening fan base, the album featured a cover of Elton John's pop classic "Tiny Dancer." Tim McGraw & the Dancehall Doctors debuted at number two on both the country and pop album charts and sold more than 2 million copies in its first three months of release.

With 25 million records sold and nineteen number one hits to his credit, McGraw has established himself not only as one of the most successful artists in the history of country music but also as a household name.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Tim McGraw (Curb, 1993); Not a Moment Too Soon (Curb, 1994); All I Want (Curb, 1995); Everywhere (Curb, 1997); A Place in the Sun (Curb, 1999); Set This Circus Down (Curb, 2001); Tim McGraw & the Dancehall Doctors (Curb, 2002).

scott tribble

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