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Southern Voice

by

Tim McGraw



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This is the title track and second single from country singer Tim McGraw's 12th studio album.
The song was written by Bob DiPero and Tommy Douglas and lists a number of historic natives of the Southern United States such as Hank Williams, Hank Aaron and Rosa Parks, who embody a "Southern Voice."
This track had its national television debut on September 10th 2009 when McGraw performed it on the live pre-game broadcast NFL Opening Kickoff 2009.
Southern Voice entered the Billboard 200 chart dated November 7, 2009 at #2. This meant McGraw had reached the top tier with each of his 13 album chart entries, dating back to his sophomore set, Not a Moment Too Soon in 1994. Prior to McGraw, no artists had sent their first 13 charted titles into the Billboard 200's Top 10 since the survey's March 24, 1956, inception. The previous record holder was Johnny Mathis, who between his 1957 arrival and 1960, notched 12 Top 10s.
During a press conference, Louisiana native McGraw was asked how he feels about saluting the late coach, Bear Bryant, and the University of Alabama's Crimson Tide football team in this song's lyrics. He replied with a groan, "I hate that part of the song. God! You know how many times I've tried to make 'LSU Tigers' blend in with that [lyric]? But I couldn't do it."
This was McGraw's 23rd Country Songs #1 and his first one since "Last Dollar (Fly Away)" topped the chart dated April 14, 2007.
Bob DiPiero and Tom Douglas explained to The Boot how they came to write this song.
Bob DiPiero: "I was in a pretty neutral mood that day -- actually, what I usually am -- hopefully optimistic! I was very happy to be writing with Tom. I'm always fired up to be writing with someone like him. I went to his house, outside of town in Nashville. He has a converted, multi-car garage, which is kind of his 'man-cave' -- his writing area. So our way of writing is, I'll go to his place, and we'll start banging away."
Tom Douglas: "I knew that Bob and I were writing, so I'd saved this song idea for him, because I thought he'd really be able to nail it -- which he did. We both like Bruce Springsteen, we're really inspired by him. So we listened to some Springsteen, and starting talking about ideas."
Bob DiPiero: "I remember us both kind of locking into this verbage -- we 'verb-ed' everything. Like Hank Williams twanged it, Dolly Parton graced it, Tom Petty rocked it -- all those kind of verbs of what they did. And once that started going, we were all over it. [Saying], 'Who do we want to use ... and personally, I wanted to slip in the 'hickory wind,' which was kind of the nickname for Gram Parsons. And 'Apalachicola,' that was a word I have always wanted to use in a song. Just the way it sounds. It just rolls off the tongue really good. And it's just one of those beautiful, un-found places in the south, that's off the beaten path. It just says 'south' to me. It's definitely got a southern voice down there."
Tom Douglas: "It's hard not to start with Hank Williams, it becomes cliché after a while. But once we started with him, we tried to make it political, religious, sports, musical. Scarlett O'Hara is obviously fictional, but she's the quintessential southern belle. And obviously, we wanted to include Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, because of their contribution to the world. Our intent was to use the most visible, iconic images of people in the south. And when you think of football, it's hard not to go to Bear Bryant and the Crimson Tide. Tim is an LSU fan, and I'm an Ole Miss fan and a UT fan. But we kind of had to put all that aside, because we were trying to make the grandest point - paint with the broadest brush you can. And also, the visual of the word "crimson tide" and the name, Bear, they're just great images!"
Tim McGraw
More Tim McGraw songs

Comments (1):

One of Tim's best! I'd describe this as a very patriotic song in the most subtle of ways--it doesn't hit you over the head with its pride, yet the pride is ther. Easy-going melody to go along with simple lyrics that paint a picture of how the south had made it's mark on all our lives. Interesting to note that the video, tho, has lots of fans in Pittsburgh Steelers garb (I live 45 minutes from Pittsburgh)---a northern town. Oh, love the reference to the Crimson Tide since one of my uncles (Clem Gryszka) coached there years ago when Joe Namath was a young upstart there.
- Camille, Toronto, OH
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