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Tim McGraw

Everything – 1997 (Curb)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Tim McGraw

This is an apt title for Tim McGraw's fourth album since he is all over the country musical map. When he sticks to a more traditional sound with fiddle and pedal steel, the music is inviting. The highlight could be the ballad "I Do, But I Don't" where he recalls George Strait.

But too often, he is stuck in the hot new country sound apparently needed to secure hits ("Heard on the Ticker"). The lead-off "Where the Grass Grows" would have worked just as well with a softer drum beat as McGraw's vocals are strong enough to carry the song and the fiddle cooks. The spare sounding "Better All the Time" finds a tender McGraw singing from the heart. The single "It's Your Love" is a fine rendition with wife Faith Hill aboard, even if it isn't all that much of a country song.

McGraw has a tendency to oversing, holding syllables as if that guarantees emotion ("For a Little While"). "Just to See You Smile" is a pleasant enough ditty with not much expressed beyond the title.

McGraw should decide whether he wants to be part of the pack hitting all the usual buttons musically or carve out his musical identity.