Tim McGraw handed out some treats--of the musical variety--on Halloween night, when he played an intimate show at a Nashville club as part of CMA Awards week. The singer previewed material from his upcoming new album Two Lanes Of Freedom (which will hit stores in February) and grooved to a variety of his older hits, but his best "trick" for the audience was a surprise appearance from an unexpected guest--R&B star Ne-Yo.
McGraw performed two songs with his friend, one his own ("Only Human") and the other Ne-Yo's ("She Is"). The latter song appears on Ne-Yo's new album, R.E.D., which is out next week. McGraw collaborated with the R&B crooner for the tune, so fans who weren't lucky enough to see the duet live will still be able to enjoy it on the record.
Aside from his special guest, McGraw delivered a high-energy set that showcased a clearly relaxed and happy state of mind. He opened up with Emotional Traffic's "Felt Good On My Lips," and delighted the crowd with back-catalog gems such as "Let It Go," "Red Rag Top," "Everybody Hates Me," and "Illegal." He also took the opportunity to try out some new songs, including his brand-new single "One Of Those Nights," which he will debut live formally at the Country Music Association Awards Thursday night.
As it turns out, McGraw's record label had a treat for him as well. Mid-performance, the superstar was presented with a plaque and informed that he has been certified as the most-played country artist in the past 20 years. An executive from music industry service Mediabase, which tracks radio play in the United States and Canada, added that McGraw is actually the most-played country artist in the history of his company.
The most played ever? Yep. "Like, ever," quipped the CEO of McGraw's label, spurring laughter from the crowd--Taylor Swift is McGraw's labelmate.
"I have 20 more years," the 45-year-old singer exuberantly assured the audience, before wrapping things up fittingly with a boot-stomping version of his current hit single "Truck Yeah."
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- Tim McGraw