Artist: Tim McGraw
Album: Damn Country Music
Label: Big Machine
Release Date: 11/06/2015
After a decade of struggling to release anything under the oppressive yoke of Curb Records, Tim McGraw has been hitting the studio fast and furious compared to his Nashville contemporaries. His latest, Damn Country Music, released November 6, 2015, seems to be a transitional piece, bridging the gap from his last album, Sundown Heaven Town. McGraw seems less inclined to feel the love from country’s younger fans this time, there are no gimmicks, and he sticks to what he’s good at: retro, classic country.
His 14th album starts off with “Here Tonight,” a fun, modern-sounding Welsh-Celtic Mumford and Sons-type country song. He harmonizes well with daughter Gracie McGraw, who brings a youthful energy to the song. One of the best on Damn Country Music is “Don’t Make Me Feel At Home,” a song about a man who is having an affair, escaping his loneliness at home. He’s meeting a woman at a hotel, hoping to regain a sense of love and passion again, something his life lacks. Credit should be given to songwriters L. David Lewis and Kim Williams for crafting a story full of emotion, and McGraw brings real sympathy to this character. It’s a fantastic, good ole country song that would stand out in any decade.
Other highlights include the love song “What You’re Looking For,” the optimistic “Top of the World,” which peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs, as well as “California,” an uptempo tip of the hat to the Golden State, featuring Big & Rich on vocal backup.
Damn Country Music shows that old and new sounds can work together if the emphasis is on originality rather than following trends.
– Laura Sedor