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.

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SteveO

I am one of the pioneers of the Hot Country format that swept across radio in the late 80's. In the early 80’s, I began advising his clients to make two significant formatting moves: 1) Increase the tempo. 2) Play more Currents. What seemed radical at the time, immediately producing ratings winners. My report about the formatting tactics I was using "Repositioning Country Radio" was published in ‘91. It was purchased by more than 200 radio programmers and served as a basic game plan for the Hot Country movement. Today, most radio markets have at least one station positioning itself as “Hot” Country. However, I no longer advise using the slogan anymore. As the format continues to evolve rapidly, new strategies are needed to maintain market share. First announcing job in '64; first PD position at age 18. I served as PD, air talent and station manager in twelve diverse markets prior to starting my consulting business in 1981. At the end of the 90's, I began transitioning from consulting to full-time business development of my music scheduling software company. Conceived and developed the first for the Macintosh computer, introduced in 1987; and Music1™, the first scheduler for Windows, introduced in 1994. The Mac-based scheduler was retired in the early 90s. The innovative Music 1 scheduler is now installed in broadcast and webcast stations around the world. Author of The Programming Operations Manual, radio's only step by step "how to" programming and formatting guide. The $99 book has been purchased by over 3000 broadcasters in the U. S. and around the world. I've often written about the technical, strategic and philosophical aspects of radio programing. My articles have appeared in all major trade publications. Experienced in all standard radio research methodologies; focus group, one-on-one interviews, questionnaires, call-out, etc. From jingles to TV production, billboard and bumper sticker design, telemarketing to direct mail, I've been involved in every aspect of radio programming and marketing.