“It happened pretty organically,” said McGraw, who was taking a break from tour preparations when he called for this interview. “I was on the couch one day watching TV, and one afternoon my phone rang and it was a number I didn’t recognize. Usually I don’t answer those calls. You don’t never know what it’s gonna be. But I answered, and the voice on the other end said ‘Hey, is that Tim McGraw?’ And I said ‘Who is it?’ And he says ‘It’s Taylor Sheridan.’ I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I just got a phone call from Taylor Sheridan.'”
Sheridan is the co-creator and screenwriter of “Yellowstone.” McGraw and Hill were big fans of the series, which is based on the life on a Montana ranch of John Dutton (played by Kevin Costner) and his family, and the threats and challenges that come with their ranching business. Sheridan was calling to see if McGraw wanted to star in an episode or two of the popular show.
“I said, ‘Well, I love the show and I’d love to do it, but it’s got to be the good part,'” McGraw said, recalling the conversation. singing cowboy who gets taken to the station and gets off. If you find something interesting and cool, I’d like to talk to you about it. He says, ‘Give me two weeks.’ So two weeks later he called and said ‘I got it. You’re going to be the original Dutton. We’re going to do a flashback episode or two. You’re going to be the original Dutton who started the ranch and that’ is what we’re gonna do. I thought ‘Well, that sounds cool. Write it down and let me read it. Then a week later he wrote it down – (but) before I send it, he called me and said, “You know, you have a woman in there. Do you think Faith would be interested? I asked Faith and she said, ‘Sure, why not?
McGraw and Hill went to Montana for three weeks of filming, then returned home and moved on with their lives. But a few months later, Sheridan called again to say the studio wanted to buy a full season of “1883.”
McGraw, who had lead roles in the movies “Flicka” and “Country Strong,” and supporting roles in well-known movies “The Blind Side,” “Friday Night Lights” and “Four Christmases,” was intrigued. But he wanted to see some scripts, and once they were written, the idea of doing “1883” became much more real.
“He (Sheridan) is one of the finest writers I have had the pleasure of reading. It’s so poetic and the world he created in the writing he wrote for this screenplay blew us away,” McGraw said. “Faith and I had to sit down and you know what, if we pull the trigger, we have to know that people are going to shoot us and people are going to look for us to fail and be on the lookout for every little mistake that we can do because we’re not supposed to do that. So if we do, we’re going to commit wholeheartedly. We’re just going to get lost. We kind of gave each other a high five and was like, ‘Let’s kick ass. That’s what we did.
The “1883” series was well received, and McGraw and Hill, which portray James and Margaret Dutton as they travel west and establish the Dutton Ranch, received generally good reviews for their work. Another batch of episodes is currently in the works.
Before that happens, McGraw will focus on music. He will be touring from late April to early July, including an appearance at the Ameris Bank Amphitheater on May 13, with a few scattered dates following this tour. He’s put together a career-spanning setlist that he hopes will take fans on an emotional journey. He does not think of overloading the songs of “Here On Earth”.
We’re doing the single from the album now, ‘7500 OBO’, the single on the radio now,” he said, mentioning the single from the deluxe edition of “Here On Earth. “So we’ll play that one. But there’s not much we can play… So you kind of have to pick one or two from each album, you know, a top 10, a number one, a top five, one that didn’t not made the top (40), all sorts of things. We go back to my very first album and play a song from that. We’re kind of trying to scale up my career.
Between shows, he’ll likely be working on his next album, which should continue an unbroken string of major hits that began with his second album, 1994’s “Not A Moment Too Soon,” which became the best-selling country album this that year. thanks in large part to chart-topping singles, “Don’t Take the Girl” and “Not A Moment Too Soon.” He has released 15 more studio albums since then, 10 of which joined “Not A Moment Too Soon” at the top of the country album chart. Of her 75 singles, 30 reached number one and only nine failed to make the top 10.
McGraw said he’s recorded a dozen tracks so far for the new album, which would put him halfway through his usual recording process. Although he writes songs, McGraw expects that, like his other albums, the vast majority of songs will come from outside writers.
“I haven’t recorded a lot of stuff that I’ve written because I’m pretty hard on myself as a writer,” he said. “And my philosophy is always that the best song has to win. I feel like I’ve built my career on finding great songs. I always want to make an album where my least favorite song on the album might be the best song on anybody else’s album. That’s kind of my philosophy when I put together an album. It’s not to criticize somebody else because I’m a big, big fan of all other music. It’s just one of my philosophies, the way I approach it, the way I look at it.
7 p.m. May 13. $69.50 – $159.50. Ameris Bank Amphitheater, 2200 Encore Parkway, Alpharetta. concerts.livenation.com.