Two Lanes Of Freedom-Tim McGraw (Big Machine)

You know what’s incredible? He’s made lots and lots of music for twenty plus years and has plenty’nuff money. Got a beautiful, talented wife, gorgeous children, loyal friends. He’s an actor in the movies and tv whenever he may wanna. From a 45 year old man that comfortable, I’d not expect an album this dramatic. It is astoundingly great. Gave me goose-bumps four times. A run of goose-bumpery like this hasn’t happened to me since I was a semi-intoxicated pup, long ago and far away. One wave of bumps came with the new single when Taylor kicked in with that hook. First bumps came with the track #1, Two Lanes Of Freedom. It opens with a kind of Irish/Scots feel. The Gaelic spice was a significant element in the early development and evolution of Country, you know. Good touch, Tim. Irish. His voice comes and it sounds better now than when he was thirty. Kudos. He’s singing of cars, open roads and speed. “We’re the reason this road was paved.” Killer line, followed by more wonderful wordplay. At the :45 mark it begins to build, then at 1:25 the choir hits. Goose-bumps. I’m blown away. This will be a Number One song. Friend Of A Friend. Clear, plaintive, achingly sad voice exposing a broken heart. It’s got the kind of hook/lyric that the truly great ballads have. Certainly could be another Number One single. Southern Girls Goose bumps again and from a ditty? Even as I’ve always loved the occasional ditty, never would’a thunk it. And them bumps from a friggin’ auto-tune?! Impossible. But yes it did. Book of John is a wonderful song about family. Mexicoma a solid, sing-along-hook built on a cool, made-up word. College kids’ll play the heck out of this on the beach at Spring Break. Number 37405 is one of the truly rare “perfect Country and Western songs.” Here’s what Tim’s packed into this one: Loneliness, prison, lost dreams, failure, love, heartbreak, drinking, driving, death, Mama, angels, church and the hope and opportunity for redemption. Goose bump appearance number four. It’s Your World could be a topper on the Pop and Country at the same time, turning on teenaged boys and young men without putting-off mature women. Neat trick. Alright, it’s February and we’ve got ten months to go but this is the Album of the Year. Give him the awards now. Nobody will top it.