Tim McGraw: Heaven At Home and American Express Unstaged

Grammy award-winning, country icon Tim McGraw and award-winning director Bennett Miller are pairing up for American Express Unstaged, the popular live stream music series in partnership with Vevo and YouTube. McGraw’s Sept. 16 concert from New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom at 9:00 PM ET / 6:00 PM PT will be directed by Miller and live streamed at amexunstaged.com. The performance is timed to the release date of McGraw’s newest album, “Sundown Heaven Town,” available on First Play on iTunes Radio presented by American Express beginning September 9. First Play on iTunes Radio allows fans to listen to full-length albums a week prior to release.

You’ll have the best seat in the house, and almost like you’re there. As opposed to me – I’ll actually BE at the Hammerstein Ballroom, watching the show live in NYC. American Express Canada has gracisously sent me to blog, tweet and post about the event, and capture it all for you. So, watch the show, turn on my Tweets, and let’s pretend you’re my +1.

Leading up to the September 16 performance, fans can visit amexunstaged.com to enjoy a series of videos featuring McGraw that will tell the stories and inspiration behind the music. Fans can get involved with the show as well – if enough people tweet using the hashtag #AmexUNSTAGED leading up to and during the live stream concert, they will unlock an encore performance. Additionally, fans will also have the opportunity to vote on what the encore song is.

And while Miller is at the controls, the audience can control their viewing experience throughout the live show by switching between the director’s main stream and alternate in-venue vantage points.

If you miss the original show online, fans will be able to enjoy a special looped rebroadcast on amexunstaged.com immediately following the live performance. An on-demand, full-concert rebroadcast will be available for 48 hours beginning at 11:00 P.M. ET on Wednesday, September 17. Clips of the performance will also be available at amexunstaged.com and Vevo’s web, mobile/tablet and TV apps beginning at 11 P.M. ET on Friday, September 19.

This collaborative effort will build on previous American Express Unstaged pairings like Pharrell Williams and Spike Lee, Kings of Leon and Fred Armisen, Vampire Weekend and Steve Buscemi, The Killers and Werner Herzog, Usher and Hamish Hamilton and Kenny Chesney and Jonathan Demme, and many more.

McGraw’s been on the road all summer, and has made $10.8 million in ticket sales for the first half of 2014, according to Pollstar. (His concerts brought in $27.2 million in 2013.) Since his first album came out in 1993, 25 of his songs have hit No. 1 on the country radio charts.

To get you ready for the show, here are 20 fun facts about Tim McGraw you need to know:

At age 11, McGraw found out his real father was Tug McGraw, a relief pitcher for the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. The two eventually connected and had a relationship until Tug McGraw died in 2004. Tug once told a reporter, “Ninety percent of the money I’ve earned in baseball I’ve invested in women, cars, parties, and booze. The other 10 percent I wasted.”


When McGraw was twelve, he saw Al Pacino in “. . . And Justice for All” and decided he wanted to be a lawyer.

His college days put an end to this. He picked up a guitar and joined a fraternity. Law went out the window when his grades came back poorly.

In 1989, on the day his hero Keith Whitley died, McGraw dropped out of college to head to Nashville and pursue a musical career.

After cutting a demo single, McGraw gave a copy to his father. A man who was friends with Curb Records executives heard the demo while driving with Tug one day and recommended that Curb contact the young singer. Several weeks later, he was able to play his tape for Curb executives, after which they signed him to a recording contract.

His second album, Not a Moment Too Soon was the best-selling country album in 1994. Five singles were released from this album: “Indian Outlaw”, “Don’t Take the Girl”, “Down on the Farm”, the title track and “Refried Dreams”. Respectively, these reached No. 8, No. 1, No. 2, No. 1 and No. 5 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts; the first two singles were both Top 20 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 as well.

All I Want, released in 1995, also debuted at No. 1 on the country charts. The album sold over 2 million copies and reached the top 5 on the Billboard 200. “I Like It, I Love It” reached No. 1 on the country charts as the lead-off single, also crossing over to the Hot 100 at number 25. The album’s next two singles, “Can’t Be Really Gone” and “All I Want Is a Life” both made Top 5, with “She Never Lets It Go to Her Heart” becoming his fourth number 1 in 1996.

McGraw’s next album, 1997’s Everywhere, again topped the country charts and reached No. 2 on the album charts, selling 4 million copies. Four singles (“It’s Your Love”, “Everywhere”, “Where the Green Grass Grows”, and “Just to See You Smile”) reached the top of the country charts from the album. The Country Music Association awarded Everywhere its Album of the Year award for 1997. “It’s Your Love” and “Just to See You Smile” were the top country songs of 1997 and 1998, respectively, according to Billboard Year-End; “Just to See You Smile” also set a record for the longest run on the country charts at the time, at 42 weeks.

“Things Change” from his appearance at the 2000 Country Music Association Awards Show was so popular, it was the first country song to appear on the Billboard charts from a fully downloaded version.

2004’s Live Like You Were Dying continued McGraw’s record of commercial success. The title track, dedicated to his father Tug, who died of a brain tumor earlier in the year, was an ode to living life fully and in the moment. Live Like You Were Dying spent seven non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 on Billboard and went on to become the top country song of 2004 on the Billboard Year-End charts. It also became one of the most awarded songs/records by winning ACM Single and Song of the Year, CMA Single and Song of the Year, and a Grammy.

In late 2004, his unlikely duet with hip-hop artist Nelly on ‘Over and Over’ became a crossover hit, spending 10 weeks atop the Top 40 chart. “Over and Over” brought McGraw a success he had never previously experienced on contemporary hit radio or rap radio, and brought both artists success neither had previously experienced in the hot adult contemporary market. ‘Over and Over’ reached the top of the charts in Australia, New Zealand and the Republic of Ireland, and the top ten in Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Romania and Switzerland.

Taylor Swift’s debut single, “Tim McGraw”, refers to him and his song, “Can’t Tell Me Nothin.'”

McGraw received critical acclaim as the overbearing father of a running back in the major studio Texas high school football drama Friday Night Lights. The movie went on to gross over $60 million worldwide at the box office, and was named one of the Top 50 High School Movies of All Time by Entertainment Weekly.

When not on tour, he and his wife, Ms. Faith Hill have dinner together almost every night and then get to bed by 9 p.m.

McGraw says that he used to take his daughters on tour with him, but not anymore due to school. They have three children, ages 12, 16 and 17.Their middle daughter is a high-school football cheerleader.

Speaking of his wife, McGraw calls her the perfect duet partner on his song “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s.” He told CMT, “She just brings such passion when she sings,” he said of his wife’s vocal talent. “She’s got such a warmth in her voice and a passion in her voice and a soul.”

His Soul2Soul II Tour with Faith Hill is the highest grossing tour in country music history, and one of the Top 5 among all genres of music.

His home? It’s an eight-hundred-acre farm in Franklin, Tennessee, an hour south of Nashville. Hank Williams once owned the place, back in the early fifties.

Hooter, McGraw’s college roommate, is a foreman on the farm. Daine, his personal assistant and overall wingman, was a fraternity brother.

McGraw’s latest album, Sundown Heaven Town is co-produced with Byron Gallimore, who has produced all of his albums. In an interview with Country Weekly, McGraw said, ““I think it’s a good microcosm of what my 20 or so years in music have been, in a lot of ways. You can certainly hear parts of my career throughout all of these songs, as well as the future and where my music is headed. To me, the title of the album is all about that time where you stop doing what you have to do, and start doing what you want to do.”

This post was sponsored by Amex Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.