Fans already have heard several songs from "
Since the early 1970s, releasing a single a few months before an album has been standard practice, but releasing more than one just isn't done. The award-winning McGraw -- whose hits include "Live Like You Were Dying," "I Like It, I Love It," "Where the Green Grass Grows" and the "Highway Don't Care" duet with
"It's a different world out there with music; everyone wants music now," says the man who has sold over 40 million records worldwide and produced 35 No. 1s. "Everyone wants to hear fresh and new stuff. My thought process was: We're going to have an album with 10 to 15 songs on it, so I wanted to give everyone an idea of what was coming."
"I don't really set out to make a different album," McGraw says. "I sort of just let the music take me where it's going to take me. ... At the end of the day, it goes where it goes."
The same principle, McGraw says, applies with genre boundaries, which have become more blurry between country and rock/pop music. Good music is good music, and it needs not fit a mold, he says.
"I think that art is art, and we're all influenced by so many different things," McGraw says. "I think you just go make your music. Who you are comes out in your music."
Whether the music has a little more pop, a little more country, a little more R&B or something else, McGraw says singers can do all those things -- and, for country singers, the core comes from the storytelling in the lyrics.
"When you're an artist, you should push your boundaries; you should test yourself," he says.
With "Meanwhiale Back at Mama's," McGraw and Hill describe life the way it was before the electronic explosion, with old-fashioned, simple, face-to-face time spent with people.
"I heard this song, and I knew right away ... she would just add that magic to the record," McGraw says about Hill. The couple live near
"Both of us are from rural communities," says the
This song sends the message to pause and take a breath, McGraw says. It's something he and his family do on most nights they are at home together, when they turn their phones and televisions off and enjoy a home-cooked meal together.
"We all have busy lives," McGraw says. "We're inundated by social media, by television, by everything every day. It can seem really hectic. Sometimes, it's nice to just sit down and reflect on it."
Singing with Hill, which he has done before on "It's Your Love," "I Need You" and "Like We Never Loved At All," makes McGraw feel like a
"She's really that level of quality and perfection and artistry," he says. "To me, she's one of the finest vocalists that's around. To sing with her is a privilege."
The multifaceted artist also is awaiting next year's unveiling of the movie "Tomorrowland," in which he plays a kooky rocket scientist. The film, inspired by the futuristic, space-themed area at the Disney parks, stars
"It's a really big movie with a lot of stuff going on with it," he says. "I'm looking forward to seeing it, to see how it turns out because there's so much."
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