Chelsea Brasted, columnist, allisonbrookephotography.com | The Times-Picayune Published Apr 4, 2017 at 10:19 pm | Updated Jul 7, 2021 at 11:35 to be Published Apr 4, 2017 at 10:19 pm | Updated Jul 7, 2021 at 11:35 to be
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Tim McGraw and Faith Hill pose for a promotional photo in advance of their Soul2Soul The World Tour 2017, which lands in New Orleans on April 7, 2017. (Photo by Becky Fluke)


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Although the crowds thinned after an afternoon thunderstorm, the first weekend of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival finished on a high note April 27, 2008, with Tim McGraw. (Photo by Jennifer Zdon, The Times-Picayune)


Tim McGraw performs at the New Orleans Arena on Saturday, April 10, 2010. (Photo by Michael DeMocker, allisonbrookephotography.com | The Times-Picayune)


Tim McGraw performs at Bayou Country Superfest on May 28, 2011, at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. (The Times-Picayune photo)


Tim McGraw performs at the Brothers of the Sun Tour concert in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Friday, Aug. 3, 2012. (Photo by Catherine Threlkeld, The Times-Picayune)


Tim McGraw performs at the Brothers of the Sun Tour concert in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Friday, Aug. 3, 2012. (Photo by Catherine Threlkeld, The Times-Picayune)


Tim McGraw performs at the Brothers of the Sun Tour concert in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Friday, Aug. 3, 2012. (Photo by Catherine Threlkeld, The Times-Picayune)


Tim McGraw, left, and Faith Hill present the award for record of the year at the 59th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)


Tim McGraw, left, and Faith Hill attend the world premiere of "The Shack," hosted by The Cinema Society, at the Museum of Modern Art on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Christopher Smith/Invision/AP)


Faith Hill, left, and Tim McGraw kiss after a performance at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)


Faith Hill, left, and Tim McGraw appear after a performance at the 52nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)


With a giant Saints helmet as a backdrop, singer Faith Hill gets the crowd going while rehearsing Sept. 5, 2007, in Monument Circle for a concert before the Saints-Colts game scheduled the following night. (Photo by Michael DeMocker, allisonbrookephotography.com | The Times-Picayune)


Faith Hill performs at Mahalia Jackson Theater on Aug. 24, 2010, in New Orleans. (The Times-Picayune photo)


Country star Tim McGraw signs autographs after he, Lt. Gov Mitch Landrieu and Amazon.com announced a fundraising effort on Nov. 29, 2005, in the St. Bernard Parish Government Complex in Chalmette. (Photo by Matt Rose, The Times-Picayune)


Tim McGraw sings a duet with his wife, Faith Hill, who was standing on the opposite end of the stage but was visible on a television, bottom, for the folks seated close to McGraw at the June 5, 2006, concert at the New Orleans Arena. (Photo by Chris Granger, allisonbrookephotography.com | The Times-Picayune)


Faith Hill sings a duet with her husband, Tim McGraw, who was standing on the opposite end of the stage but was visible on a television, bottom, for the folks seated close to her at the June 5, 2006, concert at the New Orleans Arena. (Photo by Chris Granger, allisonbrookephotography.com | The Times-Picayune)


When cameras found Tim McGraw and Faith Hill during the Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday (April 2), one thing was abundantly clear: This husband and wife duo are having a the best time.

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Whether it was jamming out to the Backstreet Boys onstage reunion with Florida Georgia Line or when Hill jumped into McGraw"s arms after debuting their new single, "Speak to a Girl," the pair were all smiles. And they do have a lot to celebrate.

McGraw, a native of Delhi, La., and Hill, who hails from Jackson, Miss., will celebrate their 21st wedding anniversary later this year, and with an upcoming duet album, they"re finally getting the chance to do something they"ve always set their eyes on. The album, of course, also comes with the opportunity to get back out on the road together.


McGraw"s and Hill"s Soul2Soul The World Tour 2017 tour reunites this Friday (April 7) in New Orleans at the Smoothie King Center, launching the third go "round under that name, and tickets are still available through TicketMaster.

They know they"ve got a lot to live up to -- the second edition, which came to New Orleans in 2006 as a fundraiser for Gulf Coast families affected by Hurricane Katrina, sold out in minutes, and still ranks as one of the highest grossing tours of all time -- but even this far into their career, it still feels like they"re just gearing up.

Taking a breather after the ACM Awards and before diving back into rehearsals for Soul2Soul, McGraw called in to his home state to catch us up on what he and Hill have planned for this return, why now was the right time -- and what"s next.

Chelsea Brasted: Let"s start with the ACMs. Just a couple questions, given how that went down. Have you always been a fan of the Backstreet Boys or --?

Tim McGraw: (Laughs) It was just fun. It was fun to watch. Of course, I did like the Backstreet Boys when I was younger, and my kids liked the Backstreet Boys, so it was cool to see. I was having a good time. I hadn"t even seen it. Everyone said I was -- what I was reacting to was watching BK with Florida Georgia Line doing the dance moves with the Backstreet Boys, and they all get up and lined up. When Brian was doing the dance moves with them, that"s what really got my attention. It was fun that he got up and was doing that. I would have never had the (guts) to do that.

CB: I imagine if you get up to dance with the Backstreet Boys, you have to bring your A game for sure.

TM: Yeah, and I don"t have an A game when it comes to dancing.

CB: And you and Faith debuted your new song. I know you and Faith have, what, three daughters, right?

TM: We do. Three girls, yeah.

CB: To me, as a woman, I thought this song, "Speak to a Girl," makes a lot of sense. You guys are raising your own daughters, this song makes a lot of sense. But from your own perspective, what drew you to this song?

TM: Well, it"s just a great song, to start with. But it"s got a great message, and when you find something that is that beautiful of a song and says something that powerful, you gravitate to it, as an artist. I do, anyway, gravitate towards those sorts of songs, and I know Faith does, too. I think it"s just about telling the truth and standing up with who you are and your relationships with people. It talks about speaking to a girl, but in a broader sense, it"s about respect for everybody and respect for each other and how you handle relationships. Certainly, as a dad of daughters, and I grew up in a house full of women -- I had my mom and two sisters -- it was something I was always aware of, and I think everybody should be aware of. Men especially should be aware of how the words they use and the words they say mean something, and as a father, I know that for a fact. They mean something, and they have impact. I read somewhere that "words are arrows, aim carefully."

CB: So you guys are launching Soul2Soul, take three, really, in New Orleans. Why New Orleans? Was that purposeful?

TM: We got to talking about it, we were setting up a tour, and we were thinking of good places to do it. And Louisiana is my home state, and Mississippi is Faith"s home state, and it"s such a cool place and a cool town, and we haven"t played it in a while, since the last Soul2Soul, so it felt like a good place to get us all together, a good place to get the show together, a fun place to hang for a couple days, rehearsing for the show. It felt like it was a good choice, and everybody agreed. And plus all my family and friends are going to be there. A lot of Faith"s family and friends. We love the city, and we love the state, of course, so we love being in New Orleans every chance that we get. From an energy perspective, it felt like a really fun thing for us.

(Editor"s note: The tour is also benefitting from Louisiana"s Musical and Theatrical Tax Credit program, according to a state official, which offers an incentive for launching national tours.)

CB: Do you guys get much opportunity to come home to Louisiana, or to Mississippi, for that matter?

TM: Not a lot. You understand ... my mom lives in Florida and my sisters live in Tennessee, so I don"t get down much. We go down to Mississippi quite often because of Faith"s family there. ... But I"ll get to see a lot of distant relatives and cousins that I don"t get to see very often. I"ll get to see a lot of those guys when we"re down.

CB: That"s awesome. If you"re going to start a major tour, you might as well do it in a place that feels like home.

TM: Might as well. And there"s crawfish right now, too.


CB: It is, I had some yesterday. ... When you guys were here last, I"m not sure if the record still holds, but you guys had the largest crowd in the venue"s history, so no pressure.

TM: Oh, boy. Good thing I got a lot of cousins down there.

CB: So how are you guys going about constructing the tour?

TM: It"s different this time. We certainly don"t want to give anything away. We have some new songs that we"ve worked on that"ll be in the show. It"s a fantastic looking stage, and the lighting and the presentation we"re really excited about. We spent all last week in Florida, and hopefully really nailing everything down and getting it the right way and how we wanted it. We"ll spend a little more time doing that. But the presentation is just unbelievable, and you"ll see. We"ll do some of our old songs, but we"ll do a lot of our stuff together. I think, for me, when you see Faith perform, that"s the biggest thing about this for me is watching my wife perform, because she just turns it loose. I"m biased, but I think she"s one of the best singers there is in this business. There"s so much heat that comes off her voice, and as a performer onstage, she"s fantastic, and people don"t get to see that very often. She doesn"t need big lights and a big stage. She can go out there and throw it down without any of that stuff. For us, as artists, it"s fun to have all the bells and whistles, especially when you"re doing a big tour.

CB: How do you guys deal with that, being on tour, and having a family? Is there a time when you"re like, "OK, I need to ride on this other bus today?"

TM: (Laughs) It"s never been that. And we haven"t toured together on the road, on a proper tour, in 10 years, so it"s a different time in our life. The kids are older. We still have one in high school, two that are out of high school, so we"re not going to have three little kids with us.

CB: Did the kids travel with you the last time?

TM: Yeah, they traveled with us on tour. And we"d want them to be around, but they"re doing their own thing now. But basically, Faith is just so good at scheduling things and keeping things together. I"m really her fourth kid, so I just go along with the program. But we love it. We"re together all the time anyway. When the kids were young, we were like a fivesome, and still to this day, Faith and I spend a lot of time together. We"re rarely separate or apart for a long period of time. I"ll go on a hunting trip with some guys, or something like that, and she"ll go on a trip with some friends. But most of the time, we"re homebodies. We like to be at home, cook dinner and watch TV with the kids. This will be a different time around for us. We"re not always out on the bus, like people might think it"s every night on the bus, because we do have one child still in high school, we"ll be flying home quite a bit. But it works pretty good so far, knock on wood. It"ll be 21 years in the middle of the tour.

CB: Yeah, that is pretty good. Congratulations on that, because it is a feat.

TM: Yeah, thank you. It"s always a challenge, but always a good challenge.

CB: Will you guys have time to rehearse in New Orleans for a few days?

TM: We will. ... We"re there for a day or two rehearsing before the show.

CB: And you guys announced last month you"re doing a joint album. What was it about this timing that made the project make sense, and where"d the idea come from?

TM: We did. We always wanted to do a duet album together, but, gosh, we were having our success, our solo success, then do a duet on each other"s projects, and it would do well, but the timing was never right with what was going on in our life, and with the kids and where they were in their lives. You know, Faith took time off to be with the kids, and the timing never worked out. And we had the right group of people around us, which I think is important. ... We decided we were going to start looking for songs to see what we could find, and we started finding some great songs and got really excited about it. We felt like it would be an album of great songs, and, for us, we never wanted to take the songs for granted or just do a duet project to do a duet project because it"s Faith and I and sort of have a couple of good songs, and here"s our duet album. ... This might be the only one we do, and we want it to be something we were proud of in every single way.

CB: And you"re in the studio for it?

TM: We"ve been in the studio for quite a while for it. "Speak to a Girl" is the first one off of it, and we had four, five things we were considering going with first, but that one kept speaking to us. And we"ll play a couple new ones on the tour, as well.

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CB: So when do you actually expect the album to be released?

TM: Oh gosh, don"t ask me that question. It"ll be late summer, early fall, I"m pretty sure.