Tim McGraw Says Sundown Heaven Town Represents A Great Landscape

(Radio.com) Tim McGraw, you could say, is a guy who, at this point in his career, is able to stretch out a bit creatively, explore new sonic territories and listen less to the suits and more to his soul. And for him, that freedom to explore is represented across his latest album Sundown Heaven Town.

Even the title itself significant. "To me, [it's] all about that time where you stop doing what you have to do," he said in a recent press statement, "and start doing what you want to do."

The country superstar's 13th studio album, Sundown Heaven Town drops Sept. 16 in a standard 13-track version as well as an 18-track deluxe version. Like his previous release for new label Big Machine (2013's Two Lanes of Freedom), it was co-produced by McGraw and his longtime collaborator Byron Gallimore, with whom he's been working since he started his career in the early 1990s.

"This album is very encompassing of everything that I've done in my career," McGraw said in a press release when Sundown Heaven Town was officially announced. "You can certainly hear parts of my career throughout all of these songs, as well as the future and where my music is headed."

In a recent sit-down interview in Nashville, McGraw emphasized the new album's sonic diversity. "If I look at it in a visual sense, it represents a great landscape," McGraw told Radio.com. "There are so many different colors, and so many different textures to this record."

Some of those varied "colors" and "textures" can be heard on the radio singles from the album that he began releasing earlier this year. The first, "Looking for That Girl," employed apparently Auto-Tuned vocals (the video was a pretty trippy ride, too), while the followup, "Meanwhile Back at Mama's" (a duet with his wife Faith Hill that reached the Top 5) was the polar opposite-a homey, laid-back ballad with a more traditional arrangement.

"I knew just from the phrasing that I wanted to cut the song right away," McGraw explained to Radio.com, about his decision to include "Meanwhile Back at Mama's" on Sundown. "Because you sort of had an idea of the gravity of the song." He played it later that same day for Hill, and her response was also immediate. "When it got to the end, and it said 'me and you back at Mama's,' a flood of tears came down from her eyes. And I said, 'Not only am I going to cut, but you're going to sing it with me.'"

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