Tim McGraw has sold over 40 million units and dominated the charts with 30 #1 singles. He's won three Grammys, 14 Academy of Country Music Awards, 11 Country Music Association Awards, 10 American Music Awards, three People... more »'s Choice Awards and numerous others. The first single from Southern Voice, 'It's A Business Doing Pleasure With You', is an up-tempo, tongue-in-cheek tale about the price paid for loving a woman who loves designer labels, penned by Nickelback's Chad Kroeger and singer-songwriter Brett James.« less
Tim McGraw has sold over 40 million units and dominated the charts with 30 #1 singles. He's won three Grammys, 14 Academy of Country Music Awards, 11 Country Music Association Awards, 10 American Music Awards, three People's Choice Awards and numerous others. The first single from Southern Voice, 'It's A Business Doing Pleasure With You', is an up-tempo, tongue-in-cheek tale about the price paid for loving a woman who loves designer labels, penned by Nickelback's Chad Kroeger and singer-songwriter Brett James.
McGraw's "Southern Voice" a Mature Masterpiece and an Album
Will W. Martin | Woodland, CA United States | 10/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Southern Voice has a decidedly mellow tone to it throughout most of its 12 tracks, the majority of which never really move past mid-tempo. This pattern is broken up only by the two songs chosen as lead singles: Business Doing Pleasure with You and Southern Voice. These songs were undoubtedly tapped by the label to market an album that, while it doesn't quite reach the territory of "dark" (though the theme of Good Girls and parts of I'm Only Jesus certainly qualifies), contains a number of, in McGraw's words, "flawed characters" that explore a sizable amount of pretty heavy territory and give the album a pretty dominant somber tone.
That being said, the album is strongest when immersed this heavy subject matter and those songs seem to have an underlying power combined with an atmosphere of reverence and immediacy, due part to excellent production, but mainly because McGraw is the master of conveying emotion and these songs involve very emotional subject matter. On first listen, I felt the album was really good, but after a dozen listens, I'm of the opinion that Tim has crafted a masterpiece of a record.
With Southern Voice, Tim McGraw as given us an album that is a mature masterpiece; these are songs by a mature artist in his prime who has no peer when it comes to conveying emotion and feeling through his music. Never have I listened to a collection of songs, album or otherwise, that have hit a nerve and given me the chills like the songs on Southern Voice have. These are songs about mature people, for mature people; a collection of statements by a husband, father and son about life and what it's really like to live and grow for forty years.
Love You Goodbye: 5/5. This is one of the most powerful, heart-wrenching songs I have ever heard...never has a song given me as many chills as this one does. The subject matter of this song makes me tear up every time I hear it because so much of it is my life; I was raised by a single mom, my father has struggled with substance abuse for decades, I left home at 18 and (somehow) made a life for myself including my beautiful wife and now 2 year old boy. This song, more than maybe any other on this record, showcases Tim's ability to convey emotion with his voice. Tom Douglas is one country music's most underrated songwriters and this song is another masterpiece from him and Tim.
Good Girls: 5/5. Tim has never one to shy away from "controversial" material and usually when he takes it on, it ends up being some of his best work. Nothing changes here as Good Girls has a stunning melody and haunting feel to a story about two best friends, one whose boyfriend is cheating on her with.....yep, the best friend. I won't spoil it if you haven't heard it, but the story does not end well and therein lies the "controversy". Tim has said this is the best track he's ever cut and while I can't label any track of his "the best" this one is certainly in the discussion. Another incredible Warren Brothers composition.
Mr. Whoever You Are: 5/5. I'm a huge fan of Sean McConnell and McGraw not only does this composition justice, he hits it out of the park. I get chills from the vocal delivery and the story of a lonely working girl who find solace in men she meets at a bar. The unique waltz-like pacing of the music fits the theme of the song and moves the song along just right. As always, what would appear to be a simplistic "story" song manages to convey an all-encompassing statement about loneliness and despair when Tim sings it.
If I Died Today: 5/5. One of the more up-tempo songs on the record, this is a really special song lyrically and, particularly, musically. Darran Smith's guitar work is really special and reminds me very much of 1970's rock. The first time I heard the song I thought "The Eagles" and that makes sense as they are Tim's (as well as my own) favorite group and the song has a very "country rock" feel to it. This song is another well penned Warren Brothers song and speaks to a very positive and motivating message.
I Didn't Know It At the Time: 5/5. This song sucks you in from the first lines. Tim's vocals are just unbelievable; you can feel how the character misses his old friend he hasn't seen in 15 years, you feel how the character just couldn't imagine his father growing older. The song is so well paced; it starts out slow, slowly crescendos and then motors along until the end. I feel this songs message so strongly, thinking back to what I really didn't know 10 years ago and what I know now. A true, honest song about growth and the wisdom that comes with age.
I'm Only Jesus: 5/5. This is the rawest song on the record and I use that word in a complimentary light; this song, from the almost hard rock use of guitar to the opening line that speak of pointing a gun at ones head and "playing Russian Roulette with the long white line" grabs you by the shoulders and makes you pay attention to it. The contrasting stories of the first, second and third verses is a brilliant way to make one of the songs' main points and, frankly, I don't think I've ever heard the concept of "free will" expressed so well or so succinctly in a song before. The fact Tim can tackle a song like this and make it work this well, is proof of his chops.
Forever Seventeen: 5/5. This was the last song I listened to when going through the album the first time. I just didn't think, from the title, that I was going to like it. After a few listens, I've decided I think this is one of the best songs on the record. The music is really interesting...not sure how to explain it, but it's different and intricate. The lyrics do speak to a woman struggling with getting older, but to me the theme can be extrapolated to anyone; when I hear the line "it's hard enough to learn to love yourself" that just hits home...who hasn't felt that.
Still: 5/5. This is, from what I understand, the third single and that makes sense. This is a radio ready track that should perform well. I happen to think this is the most, well...generic, song on the album. It's a really good song, but I guess what hear from it musically and lyrically is stuff I've heard before. That said, the song really motors forward after the introduction and I love the theme of finding peace in a world that is just going crazy around you. The imagery is awesome as well, from the description of seeing the beach for the first time, to being in bed with your lover, to finding faith and peace in the stained glass.
You Had to Be There: 5/5. A song about a father that comes to see his grown son (who he has never met) in prison and the son's less than enthusiastic response to the visit. I grew up with a father that was not there for me and a mother that struggled to keep me in line so, even though I ended up okay (I think), this song really speaks to me. It also reminds me of why I am such an involved and committed father to my daughter and little boy; the song can speak to your experience, yes, but it's also a painfully brilliant cautionary tale.
Ghost Train Town: 5/5. The only romantic love song on the album, this lyrically intricate song is one of the most twangy, straight ahead country numbers Tim has ever recorded. The combination of the descriptive lyrics and metaphors, combined with the music propel this song along and make it instantly infectious. I find myself singing the lyrics without even thinking about it, while my foot taps out the rhythm
Southern Voice: 4/5 This song is creative and different, so it wins points with me. It loses points because subject matter is a little too narrow for broad appeal; I'm from California, so I don't associate with the South much. It will ring true in the heartland, but not so much on the coasts. This reminds me of the song Louisiana that was delivered to Curb with Greatest Hits II and was on the NBC special, but never got released. That's too bad, because that song, though about the South, has more broad strokes to the lyrics and I think is one of the better songs Tim has done. Still waiting for that to be released.
It's a Business Doing Pleasure with You: 3/5. I didn't like this song when it came out...and I still don't. The song really harkens back to All I Want Is a Life Tim which isn't necessarily bad, but it's out of place on this album. The music is funky (in a good way) and reminds me a lot of Joe Walsh guitar work (which I like), but the lyrics are horrid. I would have given it a 2/5 except it is a fun song for the occasional listen AND the line "I pray to God this song will be a success" makes me laugh.
At its core, Southern Voice is a concept album very much in the tradition of the Eagles whose albums Desperado, One of These Nights and Hotel California were narrative concept albums (and who are major inspirations for Tim). In this case, the narrative or underlying theme is "the human condition". There are no traditional love songs here-no My Best Friend, no It's Your Love. There are no rockers-no I Like It I Love It, no Where the Green Grass Grows. Instead, the songs explore people and the trials and triumphs of people and while that may not necessarily have mass appeal, it is what makes the album such a benchmark piece of work.
I hesitate to make quick judgments about any record I hear, even more so with Tim's work because I find my relationship with his music tends to evolve over time. I also have never stated "this is his best record" because I find that each record he puts out stands tall beside the others in different ways. However, I find that after listening to Southern Voice more than three dozen times over the last week and a half, that this is in fact the best album Tim McGraw has ever done. Moreover, this is one of the best albums I have ever heard; Southern Voice is an album for the ages and everyone would do well to take notice of it. "
Southern Voice Rocks
Roxy G | New Jersey | 10/21/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Plain and simple...one of Tim's best Cd's ever. Trust me you will enjoy it. Each song is better than the one before and there's not a bad one in the whole group. I have not been a big fan of Tim's past few CD's but he has certianly redeemed himself in my eyes with this one. Way to go Tim!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Loving the journey!
Callie | Arkansas | 10/22/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This has been described as a dark album and it is, but there is plenty here to break it up.
I love "Mr. Whoever You Are", "You Had To Be There", "Forever Seventeen", "Still", "Love You Goodbye" and "Good Girls". I like stuff on the dark side myself.
"Ghost Town Train", along with "It's a Business Doing Pleasure With You" and "Southern Voice do a good job of keeping it moving. I especially appreciate the fact that Tim can lighten it up, sound wise anyway, and do age appropriate/place in life songs. He's way past the country boy stuff, as I am.
Bottom line, he picks great songs and delivers them in such a way that draws me in like no one else can. He's evolving and growing and I'm loving the journey!
A must have for any Tim fan or any country fan in general
Dustin | 11/29/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Tim McGraw returns to the Country world with the release of "Southern Voice". the cds a bit ballad heavy, but his voice has not sounded this strong since probably 2001s "Set This Circus Down." I don't recomend judging the cd by the first two singles however as they to me are the two weakest tracks on the cd.
"Still" starts the cd off with a feeling of home, where you can just sit there and feel the warmth of home. 4/5
"Ghost Town Train" is one of the Countriest songs hes ever done of a tale of a lover gone away and a man wishing he could change it. Good Country song and is my personal favorite along with Love You Goodbye 5/5
"Good Girls" a tale of friendship leading to a revalation of an affair and ending with a train crash. 5/5
"I Didn't Know It at the Time" a tale of not knowing how things turn out in life and looking back on it. 4/5
"It's a Business Doing Pleasure with You" one of my least favorites, it just seems out of place on the cd. 2.5/5
"If I Died Today" Wonderment of what would happen if he died today and who would do what. 4/5
"Mr. Whoever You Are" a tale of a girl wanting one more song and to get the hell out of the bar with whoever it is. 4/5
"Southern Voice" lazy list song that also seems out of place, but a number one for him none the less, it will grow on you a little. 3/5
"You Had to Be There" a father/son tale through a prison glass and running out of time. 5/5
"I'm Only Jesus" I don't think I've ever heard the concept of free will expressed so well, and it makes you want to see how it ends. 5/5
"Forever Seventeen" speaks of struggling with getting older but to me the theme of loving yourself is universal no matter of age or gender. 4/5
"Love You Goodbye" what a way to close out an album. another father son tale but with a happier ending and a lot more chills. This may be as emotional as Tim's been on almost any song he's ever done, and is my personal favorite along with Ghost Town Train. 5/5
About a 4 star album all in all. Buy it and enjoy it. Tim at some of his best work."
Nina Buckles | Arkansas | 10/22/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is long awaited new music from Tim McGraw and the CD is GREAT!!! You will enjoy each and every song!! Buy it if you haven't already!!"