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Free At Last: Tim McGraw Discusses Spectacular Launch Of ‘Two Lanes Of Freedom’

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(Photo: Rick Diamond)

He’s traveled the world, sold millions of albums, and had countless experiences that the average person has never even dreamed of. However, there’s one thing country legend Tim McGraw hasn’t done: “I’ve never been this close to an aircraft carrier before,” he enthuses. “It’s a great, great day for me!”

Indeed. When McGraw made plans for the release of his eagerly anticipated new album, Two Lanes Of Freedom—his first for a new record company, after a prolonged and frustrating fight for emancipation from his original label—he knew that this was going to have to be an extraordinary launch. So, he chose an extraordinary event to match: Flying by helicopter onto the flight deck of San Diego’s landmark aircraft carrier USS Midway, where he played an intimate set for fans, veterans, and military. What a way to celebrate release day!

Being around all the planes and helicopters docked in the harbor made McGraw feel like “a kid in a candy store,” but he was able to get down to business. In this exclusive interview, he discusses his new album, approach to music these days, playing live shows in Vegas with wife Faith Hill--and how although he’s been at this job for a couple of decades now, he still feels he’s barely begun his career.

One of the distinctive features of McGraw’s new set is his musical exploration of influences he hasn’t touched on in previous works—such as the rollicking tune “Mexicoma,” which some critics say has a Beatlesesque sound.

Of course, despite being excited about plowing new musical ground, McGraw makes sure not to stray too far from his signature sound. He keeps it real for fans with his unique touch to ballads such as the new "Friend Of A Friend."

The charging, emotional title track of McGraw's new record probably embodies the spirit of his "fresh beginning" best of all, and the enthusiastic crowd on the Midway seems to agree.

If, as he states, McGraw's career is just beginning, we're certainly looking forward to the next two decades to come!

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