Tim McGraw & Faith Hill

Surprisingly later rather than sooner, after sharing tours, hits and a 21-year marriage, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill have finally released a duets album. The twelve collaborative tracks deliver enchanting romance in boundless depth with the richest male and female harmonies country music has produced in ages. The content is on point – territory you would expect a husband and wife team to explore, the production is crisp and the harmonies big and brilliant.

In a Billboard interview recently, McGraw spoke of the day he met Hill – not, as folklore commonly has it, with the famous Spontaneous Combustion tour, but at a Country Radio Seminar in 1994. They were just two of the New Faces that year, along with Doug Supernaw, Clay Walker, Joy Lynn White, Lari White, Brother Phelps, Toby Keith, and the Gibson Miller Band. McGraw was with his girlfriend at the time, and she saw what no girl wants to see: the chemistry between her man and some leggy and delectable blond chick singer.

“For me, there was an intense physical attraction,” McGraw admits. “I guess my girlfriend saw it in my eyes. She said, ‘I don’t want you around her.’”

But it was more than just physical for McGraw. “I knew I had that instability and dysfunction in me, from the way I grew up. And when I met Faith, I knew I needed her in my life – to keep me stable, solid and on track,” he said.

Hill echoes his sentiments in the story. “Although our stories are very different, there was a missing link within our souls that we both related to,” she said.

They married in 1996, and have three daughters.

McGraw, who once struggled with alcohol, says his girls are a big reason he gave it up, stating, “Ultimately, I think I got to where I thought my girls were too old to see that, me drinking.

It had become a crutch for me to get over some shyness and to get over some reservedness. It’s still a tough thing to do to go out there, but I think I’ve gotten better because of it.”

…read the rest of the story in Issue 88.