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Album review: Tim McGraw's 'Southern Voice'

TMCG240 Tim McGraw sharply criticized Curb Records about this time last year for issuing a third "greatest hits" collection from the country star rather than release this album, which sat on a shelf for nearly two years after it was completed. McGraw sees this, his 10th studio effort, as a way of reclaiming his voice, and bucking the powers that be might well be one facet of that voice.

If only more of that feistiness were evident in the songs he's selected.

Things start out promisingly with "Still," by Lee Brice, Kyle Jacob and Joe Leathers. It's got a pulsating modern rock beat behind his Louisiana twang -- think of it as Coldplay with drawl -- but lyrically it digs a bit deeper than the melodramatic but superficial hits so closely associated with McGraw: "Don't Take the Girl" and "Live Like You Were Dying."

Then Troy Olsen and Marv Green's "Ghost Town Train," about a long-lost love, taps the kind of wistful folk-country that brings Gordon Lightfoot to mind. The leadoff single "It's a Business Doing Pleasure With You," written by Brett James, Joey Moi and, of all people, Nickelback's Chad Kroeger, has some fun, as one-dimensional as it is, with the up-tempo lament of a poor schlub who falls for a gold digger.

But it's back to hyper-emotional business as usual with "If I Died Today" and "I'm Only Jesus," two of three songs in which Brad and Brett Warren are among the multiple writers. Tom Douglas and Bob DiPiero's title track doesn't go much beyond running down a laundry list of important (mostly) Southern writers, musicians and politicians.

Gretchen Peters made a good point about these Big Picture country numbers in her song "The Secret of Life," which Faith Hill -- Mrs. McGraw -- recorded a decade ago, by suggesting there really is no secret, other than cultivating the ability to appreciate even seemingly inconsequential moments.

If McGraw can hone his musical vision, that Southern voice might find something even more potent to sing about.

-- Randy Lewis

Tim McGraw
"Southern Voice"
(Curb Records)
Two and a half stars (Out of four)
 
Comments () | Archives (6)

Tim's new CD is some of his best music yet. The songs (except for SV and IABDPWY) are for the most part meaningful slices of live. Not the partying pop drivel country radio plays today. People should be able to relate to these songs and if they can't, well I feel sorry for them becasue they have not truly lived. Can't wait until Tim is out from under Curb and can release new music when he wants to, not on Curb's belated schedule.

I agree with the review 110%. I was excited when I won the CD Southern Voice from the local radio station in a "win it before you can buy it" contest and I couldn't wait to play it. I was so disappointed in the CD. It was not what I was expecting at all. Only Southern Voice and It's a pleasure doing business with you were worth listening to. It's a shame that he thought he had to change his style that I had come to love about him.

I had ordered mine,but it did not come in the mail,so I had to buy one and I had already heard it and I cant stop playing it. I think he did a great job on choosing these songs. I am an avid fan,and I love all his music. some people really need to hear these songs. they are worth listening to.

--Gretchen Peters made a good point about these Big Picture country numbers in her song "The Secret of Life," which Faith Hill -- Mrs. McGraw -- recorded a decade ago, by suggesting there really is no secret, other than cultivating the ability to appreciate even seemingly inconsequential moments.--
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Interesting... James Taylor wrote and recorded a song called "Secret 'O Life" in 1977, and it's about the exact same thing that Gretchen Peters's similarly titled song is about - you know, the one that she wrote two decades after the Taylor number. Anyway, Tim McGraw is still a very handsome man.

The cd is spectacular. It explores deep and emotional themes. Good girls is a masterpiece of what happens when your best friend cheats on you with your boyfriend. And you had to be there is another unique story of how a man abandoned his child and finds him in jail later in life. Southern voice is most easily the weakest song on the album followed by the generic sounding Still. All the rest of the songs shine with their uniqueness.

Personally, I love the "feel" of the music on the title track "Southern Voice", but the lyrics felt "Worked" what I mean is, the lyrics feel like someone sat down and "Tried" to write this song. I agree with the main reviewer, 3 out of 5 stars. By the way, I'm a big fan of Tim's Songs, well...his version of the songs written by other people.


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