CD All I Want [Tim McGraw] (CD 872112),
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All I Want [Tim McGraw]
1. All I Want Is a Life
2. She Never Lets It Go to Her Heart
3. Can't Be Really Gone
4. Maybe We Should Just Sleep on It
5. I Didn't Ask and She Didn't Say
7. I Like It, I Love It
8. Great Divide, The
9. You Got the Wrong Man
10. Don't Mention Memphis
11. When She Wakes Up (And Finds Me Gone)
12. That's Just Me
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 77800
James Stroud; Byron Gallimore
Jerry Puckett; Julian King
Personnel: Tim McGraw (vocals); Larry Byrom (acoustic guitar); Dan Huff, Brent Rowan (electric guitar); Sonny Garrish (steel guitar, dobro); Glen Duncan (fiddle); Matt Rollings (piano, Hammond organ, keyboards); Steve Nathan (Hammond organ, keyboards); Mike Brignardello, Glenn Worf (bass); Lonnie Wilson (drums); Terry McMillan (percussion); Curtis Wright, Curtis Young (background vocals).
Strings: Steve Dorff (conductor); The Nashville String Machine.
If you're always throwing hard, the danger is your arm's going to get tired rather quickly. In baseball, that means it's nice to learn another pitch besides the fastball. In Nashville, it means ya gotta have ballads.
Tim McGraw, son of baseball player Tug, started his career with rocked-up, honky-tonk fastballs; but now, as if realizing there's a full season ahead, he settles in and sets out to make a name for himself as a balladeer. ALL I WANT, his third album, starts and ends with country-rock anthems, but the pitch he keeps going back to is a softer, more plaintive one. The songs here, including "Can't Be Really Gone," a string-bathed ballad in which a guy sifts through every tangible reason why the woman who just left him couldn't have actually left ("Her book is lying on the bed/The two of hearts to mark her page/Now, who would ever walk away/At chapter twenty-one"), and "I Didn't Ask And She Didn't Say," about an awkward meeting of old lovers, are truly affecting. McGraw sings them with just enough of a catch in his voice to suggest the romantic pain they evoke, without going overboard toward melodrama.
Yet, rock and roll still courses through McGraw's veins. "She Never Lets It Go To Her Heart" has an electric guitar jangle that suggests a middle-ground between John Hiatt, Jim Lauderdale and Marshall Crenshaw, and "Renegade" has a southern rock chorus the Outlaws would've loved. You can almost feel the twitch in his hips when he sings "I Like It, I Love It." You may also remember those songs some day as gimmicks. The ballads you're likely to just plain remember.
Personnel: Tim McGraw (vocals); Larry Byron, Larry Byrom (acoustic guitar); Dan Huff, Dann Huff, Brent Rowan (electric guitar); Sonny Garrish (steel guitar, dobro); Glen Duncan (fiddle); The Nashville String Machine (strings); Matt Rollings (piano, keyboards); Steve Nathan (keyboards); Lonnie Wilson (drums); Terry McMillan (percussion); Curtis Wright, Curtis Young (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Chris Lord-Alge.
Recording information: LOUD Recording.
Tim McGraw's early albums always suffered from uneven material, but All I Want is a surprisingly consistent record that consolidates his strengths while allowing him to expand into new territory. He didn't abandoned the honky tonk and jokey country-rock that made him famous, but he made it rock harder and hired songwriters who would help him make it more believable -- just check the track "Renegade" for an example. Similarly, his ballads, such as "I Didn't Ask and She Didn't Say," and "Can't Be Really Gone," are heartfelt; they're delivered with convincing sincerity. In other words, he has grown musically and developed into a thoroughly entertaining vocalist. And that growth is what makes All I Want the best of his early records. It is still somewhat uneven, with several weaker songs, but McGraw learned on his first couple of efforts how to disguise the flaws in the material with his singing and lessen them considerably from here on in. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Thom Jurek
Entertainment Weekly (10/06/95, p.65) - "...McGraw makes an astonishing leap to fully realized performer. His superlative song choice...emotional embodiment of a lyric, and persona--the loser with a heart of gold--make him this year's most deserving underdog." - Rating: A
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