Neon Church

Album: single release only (2018)

Songfacts®:

  • When Tim McGraw was in his late teens he used to play in bars and honky tonks which were dotted with neon signs. This ballad finds him singing of a brokenhearted dude searching for a barroom salvation after a breakup. He drowns his sorrows in the sort of drinking establishment that the McGraw grew up performing in.

    A neon church
    With a jukebox choir
    Full of honky tonk angels
    With their wings on fire
    Straight pourin' out that Johnnie Walker healin'


    McGraw explained to iHeartRadio, "When you're sort of in that pulpit so to speak, up on the stage, and you look out across a bar, you see a lot of life go by you. And you see a lot of different scenarios of people going through a lot of different stages and parts in their life."
  • "Neon Church" was written by Ben Stennis (Jason Aldean's "First Time Again," Justin Moore's "Hell On A Highway"), Ben Goldsmith (Jerrod Niemann's "Blue Bandana") and newcomer Ross Ellis Lipsey. McGraw first heard the song while waiting to pick up his daughter at her school. After listening to it, he instantly realized its message is one he couldn't pass up.

    "It's tough to find a song that's got this kind of drive and this power and this weight to it, that's got such a great lyric," he explained. "And then right off the bat, when you hear 'I need Jesus or I need whiskey,' you're hooked into the song right away. And it only gets better from there."
  • McGraw co-produced the song with longtime collaborator Byron Gallimore. He said that he set out to build a big sound that would blow people away as he wanted the listener "to almost feel the flames lickin' at you, From hell. Comin' at you with the guitars." So the pair talked to the guitarist Michael Landau and asked him to play some "Prince guitar."
  • The song's music video follows the different ways people try to get over a breakup by heading to the bar.

    "The song has a lot of grit, and there's a darkness to it," McGraw explained. "So we wanted the video to carry some of that darkness and moodiness."

    "But you also have the neon… the light," he added. "Neon light is literally the calling card to a bar - you also have the human light that calls people to be together."

Comments: 1

  • Juju from The WorldWhat cd is this on?
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Jackie DeShannon - "Put a Little Love in Your Heart"They're Playing My Song

It wasn't her biggest hit as a songwriter (that would be "Bette Davis Eyes"), but "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" had a family connection for Jackie.

Strange MagneticsSong Writing

How Bing Crosby, Les Paul, a US Army Signal Corps Officer, and the Nazis helped shape rock and Roll.

Chris Robinson of The Black CrowesSongwriter Interviews

"Great songwriters don't necessarily have hit songs," says Chris. He's written a bunch, but his fans are more interested in the intricate jams.

Billy Joe ShaverSongwriter Interviews

The outlaw country icon talks about the spiritual element of his songwriting and his Bob Dylan mention.

Michael BoltonSongwriter Interviews

Into the vaults for this talk with Bolton from the '80s when he was a focused on writing songs for other artists.

The FratellisSongwriter Interviews

Jon Fratelli talks about the band's third album, and the five-year break leading up to it.