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Music

Tim McGraw keeps on truckin', no matter the musical obstacles

| Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, 9:00 p.m.
Country singer-songwriter Tim McGraw
Nino Munez
Country singer-songwriter Tim McGraw
Country musician Tim McGraw
THE GREENROOM
Country musician Tim McGraw

If the recent past is any indication, there could be a new Tim McGraw album coming right after his current tour ends this fall.

The country superstar's latest album, 2014's “Sundown Heaven Town,” was recorded immediately after his 2013 tour in support of his “Two Lanes of Freedom” album, which was recorded immediately after he inked a deal with Big Machine Records.

These days, it seems McGraw is barely stopping to catch his breath before moving onto his next project.

He's set to perform Aug. 30 at First Niagara Pavilion, Burgettstown.

“I think as an artist, part of what you do is you feel important about what you do, about your music,” he says. “It counts, and it matters to you, and that's what it feels like to me right now. It may not matter to anybody else, but it matters to me.”

McGraw's sense of rejuvenation coincided with his arrival on Big Machine Records in May 2012.

McGraw had been having a dispute with his former label, Curb Records. Amid the troubles, Curb decided to shelve McGraw's “Emotional Traffic” album and instead release “Number One Hits,” another best-of album in November 2010.

McGraw adamantly opposed the decision, noting it was the fourth greatest-hits collection Curb had released and had little new to offer fans. He wanted to release “Emotional Traffic,” and, in fact, named his 2011 summer tour the “Emotional Traffic” tour, previewing songs from that album in those concerts.

The dispute eventually boiled over into a breach-of-contract lawsuit from Curb, which claimed McGraw had recorded “Emotional Traffic” too early. McGraw counter-sued, seeking reimbursement for his recording expenses, his advance and damages.

McGraw won a major victory in November 2011 when a judge granted the singer permission to record for another label, ending his affiliation with Curb.

Curb released “Emotional Traffic” in January 2012.

McGraw, meanwhile, quickly went to work for Big Machine with his next studio album, “Two Lanes of Freedom.” Then, quickly, a tour.

McGraw didn't want that feeling to fade, and so he came right off the tour and recorded “Sundown Heaven Town.”

Not surprisingly, McGraw feels “Sundown Heaven Town” shares some significant traits with “Two Lanes of Freedom.”

“They just seemed sort of like bookends to each other, sort of like Vol. 1 and Vol. 2,” McGraw says.

McGraw figures to include a few songs from “Sundown Heaven Town” in his shows this summer. But the set list won't neglect his back catalog.

“I mean, there are certain standards that you always do,” he says. “But we couldn't play every song we've had on the radio. It would be a four-hour show. ... So, that's always the fun part of designing the set list and building the set list.”

Billy Currington and Chase Bryant will serve as the opening acts for the Aug. 30 concert.

Alan Sculley is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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