Tim McGraw raises his "Voice" on long-delayed album
By Ray Waddell
NASHVILLE (Billboard) - Autumn heralds a time of change for Tim McGraw. His multifaceted career is at a crossroads as the country singer prepares for the Tuesday (October 20) release of "Southern Voice."
The new album, on Curb Records, is McGraw's 10th with producer Byron Gallimore in a collaboration that has yielded tremendously successful results at retail and on radio. McGraw's career has been one of the brightest in any genre for more than a decade, encompassing hit albums, lucrative touring and notable revenue generated by music publishing, films, TV shows and books, as well as branding and licensing.
Last April McGraw became the first established mainstream country star to sign with Red Light Management, led by Coran Capshaw. A Charlottesville, Virginia-based entrepreneur with a wide-ranging portfolio -- including real estate and a brewery -- Capshaw is perhaps best known as manager of Dave Matthews Band, founder of direct-to-fan pioneer MusicToday (now part of Live Nation) and co-founder of ATO Records.
Red Light has initiated a wealth of merchandising and marketing projects for McGraw, as well as plans for a major arena tour in early 2010. He'll also co-star with Sandra Bullock in the Warner Bros. film "The Blind Side." This is busy, even by McGraw's standards, and enthusiasm runs high. "Tim has the desire to work hard, he's engaged, he's energetic, he made a great album," Capshaw says. "Tim has a great history, people have done a great job with him, and now we're ready to try to take it to another level."
Since McGraw's career began in the early 1990s, he has sold almost 40 million albums, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and dominated the charts with 30 No. 1 singles. He has won 14 Academy of Country Music Awards, 11 Country Music Assn. Awards, 10 American Music Awards, three Grammy Awards and three People's Choice Awards.
But there has been a dearth of new studio material from McGraw in recent years. The wheels of Nashville often turn slowly, but he feels he has waited an inordinately long time for the release of "Southern Voice."
Recorded in the fall of 2006 at Dark Horse studio in Franklin, Tennessee, the album will see the light of day nearly three years later. "I was still in my 30s (when the album was recorded)," McGraw says. "It was a whole other decade for me." Continued...