Live Like You Were Dying

Live Like You Were Dying

4.8 25
by Tim McGraw

Jolted by tragedy, Tim McGraw looks inward on his ninth album and comes out stronger than ever. The journey opens with a snippet of Delta blues made to sounds like it's playing on a scratchy 78, only to give way to a pounding, twangy slice of country rock, "How Bad Do You Want It," which posits the secret of success as "eating, sleeping, dreaming with that one thing…  See more details below


Jolted by tragedy, Tim McGraw looks inward on his ninth album and comes out stronger than ever. The journey opens with a snippet of Delta blues made to sounds like it's playing on a scratchy 78, only to give way to a pounding, twangy slice of country rock, "How Bad Do You Want It," which posits the secret of success as "eating, sleeping, dreaming with that one thing on your mind." The Grammy-winning singer backs up his unabashed advocacy of traditional values, old friends, and family with a fusion of '70s southern rock and '80s new traditionalism, which form the bedrock for these songs. An earnest country shuffle, "My Old Friend" states his enduring affection for a trusted confidant physically absent but ever present in spirit and in memory. The title track is a touching pop-influenced power ballad with a soaring string arrangement and meaty guitar sorties driving a poignant reminiscence of a father's final days, obviously inspired by the death of Tim's own father, the celebrated relief pitcher Tug McGraw. Dad's passing has spurred his son to greater reflection on the big issues in life, such as those described in the heavily orchestrated ballad "Drugs or Jesus," which proffers the difference between a wasted and a useful life as boiling down to one or the other of the title's choices. Fans of a certain age will relate to the bouncy dance-hall ditty "Back When" and its new traditionalist features, such as pedal steel and snarling guitars, and its nostalgia for "the old and outdated way of life" when "a hoe was a hoe...a screw was a screw," and such. Powerful and passionate, Live Like You Were Dying sounds like real good advice from an inside source.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
There's good reason for Tim McGraw's endurance at the top of contemporary country: he's a restless visionary who's worked hard to improve as an interpretive singer. In 2002, McGraw bucked the trend and convinced his label, and producers Byron Gallimore and Darran Smith, to let him use his road band in the studio. The rough and tumble intimacy of the set put it over the top and appealed to music fans outside his circle. On Live Like You Were Dying, McGraw ups the ante. Using the same production team and his Dancehall Doctors, McGraw cut a whopping 16 tracks and helped in the mixing of the record, as well as co-producing. The song selection runs the gamut. There's the blues-rock energy of the opener, "How Bad Do You Want It," where he evokes the ghost of the Mississippi Delta as well as the hard country-rock sounds of Marshall Tucker and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Then there's the shimmering Americana of "My Old Friend" that would not be out of place performed by Pierce Pettis, and the fantastic "Old Town New," by renegade songwriters Bruce Robison and Darrell Scott. The monster single from this record, "Live Like You Were Dying," by Craig Wiseman and Tim Nichols, is the very best kind of modern country song; the emotion in McGraw's delivery is honest, not saccharine. In anyone else's voice, a song like "Drugs or Jesus" would be just plain bad. The tune itself is solid and beautifully constructed, a perfect marriage of melody, hook, and direct, simple lyrics. But the temptation to overperform such a song is irresistible to most of the hit factory's mainstays. Not for McGraw though: his understatement underscores the lyric's seriousness. The tenderness in Rodney Crowell and James T. Slater's "Open Season on My Heart" is vulnerable in all the right ways. The moody poignancy of "Walk Like a Man," is a fine and haunting centerpiece for this fine album. "Kill Myself" has to be experienced -- it's a miracle and a testament to McGraw's clout that this tune made it on to the record. "We Carry On" is a soulful anthem, gritty, true, and beautiful. It's a fitting close to McGraw's finest moment yet. The young hell-raiser has grown to be one of modern country's most compelling and multidimensional artists.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Curb Records


  1. How Bad Do You Want It
  2. My Old Friend
  3. Can't Tell Me Nothin'
  4. Old Town New
  5. Live Like You Were Dying
  6. Drugs or Jesus
  7. Back When
  8. Something's Broken
  9. Open Season On My Heart
  10. Everybody Hates Me
  11. Walk Like A Man
  12. Blank Sheet Of Paper
  13. Just Be Your Tar
  14. Do You Want Fries With That
  15. Kill Myself
  16. We Carry On

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tim McGraw   Primary Artist,Vocals
Rodney Crowell   Background Vocals
Kim Carnes   Background Vocals
Faith Hill   Background Vocals
Robert Bailey   Background Vocals
Greg Barnhill   Background Vocals
Charlie Bisharat   Violin
Dean Brown   Fiddle,Mandolin
Darius Campo   Violin
Larry Corbett   Cello
Kim Fleming   Background Vocals
Armen Garabedian   Violin
Berj Garabedian   Violin
Vicki Hampton   Background Vocals
Gene Miller   Background Vocals
Chris Rodriguez   Background Vocals
Evan Wilson   Viola
Susan Chatman   Violin
Russell Terrell   Background Vocals
Suzie Katayama   Cello
Billy Mason   Drums
Natalie Leggett   Violin
Denny Hemingson   Dobro,Electric Guitar,Steel Guitar,Slide Guitar,Guitar (Baritone),Mellobar Slide
Steve McEwan   Background Vocals
Wes Hightower   Background Vocals
Robert Bailey   Background Vocals
Dave Dunkley   Percussion
Brett Warren   Background Vocals
Bob Becker   Viola
John Marcus   Bass
Charles Bisharette   Violin
Darran Smith   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Bob Minner   Acoustic Guitar,Banjo,Mandolin
Darren Smith   Acoustic Guitar
Mario de León   Violin
Sarah Parkins   Violin
Jeff McMahon   Synthesizer,Piano,fender rhodes,Hammond B3
David Dunkley   Percussion

Technical Credits

Rodney Crowell   Composer
Jeff Stevens   Composer
Tim McGraw   Producer
Steve Bogard   Composer
David Campbell   String Arrangements
Steve Churchyard   Engineer
Bob DiPiero   Composer
Byron Gallimore   Producer
Rick Giles   Composer
Julian King   Engineer
Stan Lynch   Composer
Tim Nichols   Composer
Bruce Robison   Composer
Darrell Scott   Composer
Stephony Smith   Composer
Craig Wiseman   Composer
Greg Lawrence   Engineer
Brett James   Composer
Bobby Terry   Composer
Mark Seliger   Cover Photo
Tommy Douglas   Composer
Jim Collins   Composer
Chris Lindsey   Composer
Bill Luther   Composer
Aimee Mayo   Composer
Steve McEwan   Composer
Don Schlitz   Composer
Casey Beathard   Composer
Glenn Sweitzer   Artwork
Brad Warren   Composer
Kerry Kurt Phillips   Composer
Anthony Smith   Composer
Darran Smith   Producer
Troy Verges   Composer
David Beyant   Engineer
Kevin Horne   Composer
James T. Slater   Composer
Ed Hill   Composer
Tony Mullins   Composer
George Washington   Author
David Bryant   Engineer

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