Tim McGraw’s new album Here on Earth is full of sweet and soulful country songs to lose yourself in, but one has resonated with both fans and the singer alike more than most. McGraw shared additional backstory on the emotional track “I Called Mama,” a song that hit hard in its May release amid the coronavirus pandemic for its message of grief and not taking life for granted. It turns out that McGraw was so taken by the song the first time that he heard the demo, he immediately wanted to learn it and play it for wife Faith Hill — but he couldn’t get through the chorus without melting into tears. And we thought we were the only ones!
McGraw shared the vulnerable backstory on Instagram as day six of his #McGrawSongChallenge, the category of which was “a song that makes you cry.”
“When I first heard it I wanted to play it for Faith,” he says. “And I didn’t want her to hear the demo, it was just an acoustic guitar demo, I wanted to learn the first verse and chorus so I could play it for her. And I’ll be damned if I didn’t play it for her and I couldn’t — I could never get through it, I would just fall apart when I got to the ‘I Called Mama.'”
McGraw seems to choke up on the line in the video as well, laughing at himself: “I’m doing it now! The ‘I called mama’ line, it just does it to me every time that I hear it.”
“I Called Mama” is definitely an emotionally heavy song, and one McGraw says means more to him now than it ever would have before.
“As you progress through life and things happen, you lose friends and you get older, it really hits you,” he mused. “Reflecting on life and reflecting on where you’re at in life, what’s important to you, what’s not important to you. And ultimately the first person that you want to reach to and the person that makes you feel the most secure out of anybody is your mom, for me anyway, and for most people I think. Especially guys and their mamas.”
We’re guessing McGraw’s own mama — who was featured in her son’s music video — has had her line blowing up ever since the song came out.
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