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Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors: This is Ours

By Tim McGraw with Martin Huxley

Atria, 176 pages, $25

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz, January 2003

Find it on Amazon
In conjunction with the release of the "Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors," CD, this book describes the recording process as seen through the eyes and ears of those directly involved - McGraw, of course, the musicians, managers, producer and assorted staff.

And while interesting at a certain level - seeing how the participants themselves experienced the recording - that is also a problem.

There seems to be an endless need by all concerned to emphasize what a great guy McGraw is in caring for those around him and not acting like an obnoxious, self-absorbed superstar. There is no quibbling with McGraw being a nice guy. His persona seems to indicate that he is, but how many times do you need to be told that by his bandmates and others?

There also is a rah-rah attitude about the music being recorded as well. McGraw's longstanding backing band, the Dancehall Doctors do the actual recording instead of the previous and typical Nashville process of using studio musicians. Rest assured, the Doctors are thrilled at the opportunity. Who can blame them? But again how many times do we need to be told that?

You certainly get the impression that McGraw and his band are quite close with each other and that McGraw appreciates the help of all concerned. Their accounts of pre-superstar McGraw are interesting.

But an independent view of the proceedings may have proven more enlightening to gain a bit more flavor and less vanilla.

The recording sessions in New York (again quite different for country where almost everything is done in Nashville) seem uneventful. Wasn't there anything particularly interesting that occurred? A funny story? Interesting information about how a particular song may have made the cut?

Particular kudos are due to Glenn Sweitzer, who did a fine job in designing the very attractive book.

The photography, mainly by Marina Chavez, is high quality. If you're looking for a Tim McGraw picture book, this isn't it as there are many photos of others involved.

The quick read - it's almost more a coffee table type book - is informative at a certain level, but could have been more.