DIARY - 23 MAY 2010 - TIM MCGRAW INTERVIEW
MCGRAW - MOVIES, MUSIC AND AUSTRALIA
"Hank Williams sang it, Number 3 drove it/ Chuck Berry twanged it,
Will Faulkner wrote it/ Aretha Franklin souled it, Dolly Parton graced
it/ Rosa Parks rode it, Scarlett O chased it." - Southern Voice
- Tom Douglas-Bob DiPiero.
McGraw is cast in Hollywood movies as a support to female leads he never
fades in the shade.
Especially when his celluloid spouse Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for her
maternal portrayal in The Blind Side.
Now Tim is back as husband-manager of Gwyneth Paltrow in another new movie
Love Don't Let Me Down.
"That's fantastic, I've been very fortunate to work with some great
people," McGraw 43, told Nu Country TV on the eve of his belated
Australian tour in September.
McGraw and his hot band The Dance Hall Doctors sold out their first Brisbane
concert on September 16 in 15 minutes.
A second concert on September 17 immediately went on sale.
"It's all about the material. It's just like looking for songs -
find the best material you can find and work with it."
Paltrow is the real life wife of Coldplay singer Chris Martin and McGraw
is spouse of fellow singing actor Faith Hill who makes the trip here with
their three daughters.
Hill, born Audrey Faith Perry in Richland, Mississippi, will celebrate
her 43rd birthday on September 21, during their tour.
"I had a full beard from that movie," McGraw explained.
"We finished shooting that at the end of February and I was never
more glad to shave as a full beard is no fun after about a month."
The celluloid circle turned as McGraw's character's son Garrett Hedlund
also played his son in the 2004 Texas movie Friday Night Lights
that also featured Billy Bob Thornton.
"Garrett's a fantastic actor and we've been good friends since Friday
Night Lights and he's done some great work," McGraw added.
"I think he's one of the best actors to come along in a long time.
He's very intense on screen. Really fine actor and brings a lot to the
90 mph, with her hair on fire/running on a tank full of burning desire/she's
heading out Old Highway #29/leaving Loachapoka behind." - Leaving
Loachapoka - Marshall Chapman
also interacts in the new movie with lauded South Carolina born singer
Marshall Chapman, 61, who played Paltrow's tour manager.
"Marshall's absolutely in the movie, all the way from Australia
a question about Marshall, she'll love that," McGraw said.
"She's a great songwriter and a great person and she did a fine
job acting as well. She played Winnie - the tour manager for Gwyneth's
character. I play Gwyneth's husband and manager."
Chapman majored in French at Vanderbilt University in Nashville before
her six-album career including a 1995 live album with her band The
Love Slaves at the Tennessee State Prison For Women.
has also written a brace of hits for other artists and two books Good
Bye Little Rock 'n Roller and They Came To Nashville.
Marshall and Matraca Berg - singing spouse of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band co-founder
Jeff Hanna - wrote 14 songs for the musical Good Ol Girls.
Her writing included Sawyer Brown's #1 hit Betty's Bein' Bad and
tunes by artists diverse as Emmylou Harris, John Hiatt, Joe Cocker, Jimmy
Buffett, Jessi Colter, Tanya Tucker, Wynonna, Irma Thomas, Dion, Olivia
Newton-John, Ronnie Milsap and the late Conway Twitty.
DANCE HALL DOCTORS
tonight some dance hall doctor/might break the chains that locked her/
to that lonesome old feeling." - Between Her Blue Eyes And Jeans
- Ken McDuffie.
song Between Blue Eyes And Jeans, written by Ken McDuffie, included
a lyric McGraw adopted for his road band's name - The Dance Hall Doctors.
"I named them that back in 1989 when I first started on the road,
that was when we were just a band with a trailer. Yes, the name came from
that old Conway Twitty song for sure."
The Dance Hall Doctors joined him in the studio in 1996.
By then McGraw, whose album sales have surpassed 40 million, had suffice
sales clout to call the studio shots despite his record company.
"I just said I was going to do it," McGraw explained.
"Luckily for me I've been able to make my records the way I want
to make them. It's great recording with my own band but I'll also do other
records with session players. I've made some great records with session
players too. I'll make more records with session players then I'll go
back to making records with my band too. It's fun for me to mix it up
and get different sounds."
Those different sounds owe a lot to long time guitarist and music director
Now the band, featuring fiddler-mandolinist Dean Brown, drummer Billy
Mason, bassist John Marcus, steel guitarist Denny Hemingson and Jeff McMahon
on keys, has two new members Brad and Brett Warren.
The Warrens, who performed at now defunct ID's nightclub in Greville St,
Prahran, in their solo recording era, have also been prolific writers
for recent McGraw albums.
"Brad and Brett are writers for my publishing company and members
of my touring band now," McGraw revealed.
"Yeah, I have plenty of time to write with them - they're two of
the best writers around."
CLOUD MOVIE DEBUT
as the hickory wind/That blows from Memphis down to Apalachicola/It's,
"Hi y'all, did ya eat?/Well, come on in, I'm sure glad to know ya."
- Southern Voice - Tom Douglas-Bob DiPiero.
country stars McGraw is not cast as a singer in his movies - he has played
dramatic roles since his 2004 debut as a sheriff in Black Cloud
- the story of a Navajo boxer.
"That was the first I had ever done," he said on the eve of
a concert with his Dancehall Doctors in Statesboro, Georgia.
"Rick Shroder was the director of that. He came to visit one of my
shows and asked me to do that part. First time I had ever done anything
movie wise. I thought it was a good opportunity to learn something from
somebody who had done it for quite a while."
Shroder won a Golden Globe, aged nine, for his role in the 1979 remake
of The Champ, and also directed and appeared in a CMT award winning
video for Whiskey Lullaby featuring Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss.
McGraw was bemused to learn on the day of our interview fellow singing
actor Willie Nelson was exactly 34 years and one day older than him.
And, like Nelson celebrating his 77th birthday on the road again, Tim
was en route to a concert on his 43rd birthday when he phoned from his
"Hey, I don't think I'm having as much fun as Willie," McGraw
joked about the icon also tipped to return down under.
"I've never done any work with Willie in movies."
grab my old guitar/I'll take a pencil from a jar/ open up a bottle of
90 proof and write a song for you/like Kristofferson would do." Kristofferson
- Anthony Smith- Reed Nielsen
hasn't joined Bruce Robison, Toby Keith, Don Bowman and many others
to record tribute songs to Willie but he cut one for the Red Headed
Stranger's fellow Texan and Highwayman Kris Kristofferson on his 2007
album Let It Go.
"He's one of the best that's ever been," McGraw said of
the four times wed singing actor who inspired the Anthony Smith-Reed
Nielsen penned song.
"I'm a big fan of his. He's a great guy too. I'd love to do something
with Kris Kristofferson.
You know one of these days."
flattered that young superstar Taylor Swift's debut hit was a eulogy to
"I thought that was fantastic, especially when I found out she was
only 14 when she wrote it," McGraw joked.
"That made me feel not quite so old."
DUVALL AND DIRTY GIRL
let this old gold cross/And this Allman Brothers t-shirt throw ya
It's cicadas making noise/With the Southern voice.- Southern Voice
- Tom Douglas-Bob DiPiero.
made another movie Dirty Girl with fellow singing actor Dwight
Yoakam who has toured here twice between his movies.
"I've finished that one as well. I don't know when that will be out,"
"William H Macy, Mary Steenburgen - I'm dropping names - and Millo
Jovovich are in that.
Some great people."
McGraw also appeared in Four Christmases, released in Australia
as Four Holidays, with Yoakam and Robert Duvall who had a cameo
in Crazy Heart.
"I didn't get to have any scenes together with Dwight in either of
those movies," McGraw joked.
"I'll look to doing a movie with Dwight where I actually have some
scenes with him."
So what about Four Christmases star Sissy Spacek who also portrayed
Loretta Lynn in Coalminer's Daughter?
"She's fantastic, she's still beautiful too, a beautiful lady and
a sweetheart too."
Arkansas born Levon Helm - drummer for The Band - played Loretta's father
in that movie.
More recently he played Confederate General John Bell Hood in 2009 movie
In The Electric Mist - inspired by James Lee Burke novel In
The Electric Mist With Confederate Dead.
That movie also featured a cameo by Louisiana born blues icon Buddy Guy.
McGraw was moved by Duvall's role in Jeff Bridges Oscar winning movie
"I thought he was fantastic," McGraw said of Duvall singing
the Billy Joe Shaver song Live Forever a capella while fishing
on a lake.
Aaron smacked it, Michael Jordan dunked it/Pocahontas tracked it, Jack
Daniels drunk it/Tom Petty rocked it, Dr. King paved it/Bear Bryant won
it, Billy Graham saved it." - Southern Voice - Tom Douglas-Bob
heat seeking hybrid of Dixie rock, roots country and made for radio
ballads crashed cash registers with high frequency jangles under
the tutelage of long time producer Byron Gallimore.
Ten studio albums and three plus Greatest Hits discs, with new singles,
have been a superb sales strategy in tandem with acting.
In November he achieved a first in the 53-year history of the Billboard
Top 200 all genre chart when Southern Voice debuted at #2, meaning
he had a Top 10 hits with each of his 13 Billboard 200 chart entries.
Art imitates life for Tim - son of late baseball star Tug McGraw
- who died of brain cancer in 2004 at the singer's cabin near Nashville.
Tug won wide success as a champion pitcher for the Philadelphia
Phillies and New York Mets.
Tim was unaware of Bridges' reported role in another new movie
The Open Road reputedly based on the lives of Tim and Tug.
heard anything about that," he confessed.
"That's real news to me."
McGraw paid for his father's cancer treatment and gave him solace.
"He spent the last week of his life at our farm," McGraw said.
"That's in Tennessee too. It was great to be able to spend that time
together at the end."
Although McGraw's mother raised him in small Louisiana town Start after
Tug decamped before Tim was born they reunited after he moved to Nashville.
Tug gave Curb Records a demo tape that helped Tim score his record deal
McGraw was born in Delhi and raised in nearby Start, Louisiana.
It was a typical tiny Dixie town with cotton gin, church and school in
the shadows of Monroe, Louisiana - hometown of the late Webb Pierce and
much alive country singers Andy Griggs and Kevin Gordon.
"Delhi was where I was born," McGraw said.
"I actually grew up in a town called Start - about 25 miles from
Delhi. It was bucolic, a small little town, a farming community with bayous
and rice fields and bean fields. We had one caution light in our town
and that was it. I spent all of my time on a bicycle or a tractor and
going to a little school. It was pretty ideal childhood growing up."
As a teenager Tim went to North East Louisiana State University on a baseball
scholarship and studied sports medicine while singing for his supper and
playing guitar after dark.
got a duster '79/ Bottle of Jack and a 45/ Points it at his head
And he starts to cry, To proud to ask me to save his life/ Billy's in
On the upper east side/ playing Russian Roulette/ With the long white
line His wife gets a call at 3 am/ Saying Billy ain't never coming home
again." I'm Only Jesus - Pat Buchanan-Brett Warren-Brad Warren.
But on May
9, 1989 - the day Tim's stone country mentor Keith Whitley and singing
spouse of Lorrie Morgan died at 33 with a blood alcohol reading of .477%
- he quit college and headed to Nashville.
McGraw said that unlike gridiron star Michael Oher, whose father he played
in The Blind Side, he dropped out of college.
"I had several scholarships and I ended up picking up a guitar in
my first year enjoying fraternity and that ruined all my athletics right
there," Tim explained.
"Between guitars and fraternity, athletics isn't going to win out.
I didn't get my sports medicine degree. I got a degree in celestial navigation
- the study of heavenly bodies."
His albums All I Want, Everywhere, A Place In The Sun, Set This Circus
Down and Live Like You Were Dying and Let It Go had
similar multi-platinum success to one simply titled Tim McGraw &
The Dance Hall Doctors.
It was a rapid ascent for an artist who sang in clubs until landing the
Curb deal in 1992 and cut a self-titled album that failed to chart.
That was despite chart single Welcome To The Club and wry novelty
tune What Room Was The Holiday In.
But second album Not A Moment Too Soon in 1994 ignited his first
#1 hit Don't Take The Girl and chart entries Down On The Farm
and Refried Dreams.
McGraw's infectious revamp of historic J D Loudermilk novelty Indian
Outlaw enjoyed huge sales after criticism from Native American activists
and crossed to the pop charts.
It left another play on words song Give It To Me Strait in the
But McGraw didn't just record chart candy - he and Hill also recorded
tunes by credible Texan singer-songwriters Bruce Robison and Rodney Crowell
who have both toured here.
Robison penned the McGraw-Hill hit Angry All the Time.
Crowell's 1995 single Please Remember Me on his Jewel Of The
South album reached #69 before it became a #1 hit for McGraw on his
Place In The Sun album in 1999.
wouldn't let him play the Opry with whiskey on his breath," and dresses
it up "well they like to call them hippies/ outlaws with guitars/
but they brought a little poetry to the honky tonks and bars." -
Things Change - Aimee Mayo-Chris Lindsey-Bill Luther-Marv Green.
McGraw-Hill musical and marital pairing was born in 1996 when she
was his opening act on aptly titled Spontaneous Combustion tour.
It was a fairytale wedding on October 6 that year for Hill who was
raised by her adoptive parents in Star, Mississippi.
She previously married music publisher Dan Hill in 1988 and was later
engaged to producer Scott Hendricks.
Faith also starred with expatriate Australasian superstar Keith Urban's
wife Nicole Kidman in a Hollywood remake of The Stepford Wives.
Although Faith and their three daughters - Gracie, 13, Maggie, 11,
and Audrey, 8 - are touring she is not booked to perform with him.
but you never know what might happen," says McGraw - a pilot who
plans to hire a plane to fly over the outback on his days off.
"Faith won't be performing but she'll be with me. She could do duets
as a cameo. You never know what she will do. Hopefully I can talk her
into doing at least one song."
There are nine duet hits to choose from.
It's Your Love, Just To Hear You Say You Love Me, Angry All The Time
and Let's Make Love topped country charts, crossed to pop pinnacles
and earned major awards including Grammys.
But it won't be the vitriolic song Things Change from his 2001
album Set This Circus Down.
It parodies ostracism of artists dating back to Hank Williams in the forties
and Faith in the nineties.
"It's about Hank Williams, of course, the first verse," McGraw
"It's just a song that says something about all music - things are
always changing. It's one of my favourite songs. It's also about my own
music, the changing of the guard and also people beating up on my wife
at that time because she was having a lot of success beyond country music.
That was why I performed that song at the CMA awards. We crossed into
pop charts - now everybody does it."
is my friend, America is my home/Sweet iced tea and Jerry Lee/ Daytona
Beach, that's what gets to me/I can feel it in my bones." - Southern
Voice - Tom Douglas-Bob DiPiero.
outside his marriage for duet partners diverse as the other Coalminer's
Daughter Patty Loveless, Jo Dee Messina, rapper Nelly and Tony Bennett.
And Hill earned royalties for expatriate Port Douglas songwriter Kylie
Sackley by cutting her song Sunshine And Summertime on her sixth
McGraw also cut Shotgun Rider - co-written by expatriate Australian
singer-songwriter and actor Sherrie Austin, whose career began here as
"That was on my previous album," McGraw recalled.
"Faith actually sang with me on that song."
The title track of McGraw's 10th album Southern Voice, penned by
Tom Douglas and Bob DiPiero - ex-husband of Pam Tillis - became his 23rd
No 1 hit in a career that now boasts 40 million album sales.
It was also used at the end of The Blind Side movie.
"Tom's been a friend of mine for a long, long time and written plenty
of songs for me.
Whenever Tom Douglas has a song he wants me to hear I'm right on top of
it and I want to here it. When I heard it I knew I absolutely had to record
it. I just thought it was an instant. I was in the middle of making my
record at the same time I was making the movie," McGraw revealed.
"The director and producer heard the song as I was finishing up my
album and thought it would be perfect."
beautiful baby from the outside in/ Chase your dreams but always know
the road that'll lead you home again/ Go on, take on this whole world/
But to me you know you'll always be, my little girl." - My Little
Girl - Tom Douglas-Tim McGraw.
McGraw-Douglas partnership has also produced two childrens' books
Love Your Heart and My Little Girl.
"There are two out in that series, there should be more to come,"
"So far only two but they've done well, they're fantastic and
a lot of fun to do."
The Douglas song My Little Girl was penned for the 2008 Flicka
movie that also starred McGraw.
He was executive producer of the soundtrack that featured the Donovan
classic Catch the Wind, The Warren Brothers, Holly Williams,
Catherine Raney and the Dance Hall Doctors.
So has McGraw seen the Flicka 2 movie starring Texan Clint Black -
the singing spouse of actor Lisa Hartman Black.
caught that yet," McGraw confessed.
"I'm looking forward to seeing that. Clint's a good friend of mine."
But McGraw is taking a break from movies to promote Southern Voice
in the U.S. and here.
"There are no more movies at the moment," McGraw says.
"I'm busy with the tour. In a couple of months in the fall I might
have time to look at other movies. Again it's just a matter if I find
something that strikes me that's good. It's all about finding the right
midnight Chardonnay smooth the edges off the day/a little taste of Mary
Jane makes you feel young again/All those years around your eyes always
take you by surprise/You've been living in a dream, forever seventeen."
- Forever Seventeen - Joe Doyle-Josh Kerr.
So why did
it take so long to reach Australia - they cancelled a planned 2002 promo
tour because of terrorism fears after September 11, 2001?
"I've never been and I have had a 20 year career, can't believe we've
never got down there," McGraw confessed.
"When I was young and single I didn't have time because I was so
busy. I've always wanted to get down there. I've heard great things about
Australia and the people there.
Then I got married and timing with school never worked out. Finally the
kids are old enough and the career is still going great. So we're all
going to come down this time."
So what will the McGraw clan do on their days off?
"I had breakfast with Keith and Nicole a couple of days ago telling
me things I should do," McGraw confided.
"When I get closer they'll give me a list of things I have to do
and talked about how great the people are."
So apart from June 3, 2000, when McGraw and fellow superstar Kenny Chesney
were charged and later cleared of stealing that deputy sheriff's horse
in Buffalo, New York, is the singer a high flyer off stage?
"I'm a pilot, I'd love to get a plane and go out and fly over the
interior," McGraw added.
"My second daughter Maggie wants to go into a shark cage and go down
off the reef. She's an outdoor girl for sure."
So would McGraw consider following in the slipstream of Kieran Kane and
Kevin Welch by making a video clip here?
"I haven't thought about it yet," McGraw said.
"There's not much time but it's a good idea for sure."
CLICK HERE for a FAITH
HILL feature interview in Dave's Diary on September 21, 2005.
CLICK HERE for Tonkgirl's Guide for
full tour details
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