Originally published in the July 11, 2000 issue of Country Weekly magazine.
Tim McGraw steers his 1949 Chevy truck down a winding road, headed toward a Nashville studio.
Suddenly, wife Faith Hill’s Suburban whizzes by. Brakes screech, gears are thrown into reverse and the couple back their vehicles side by side to engage in an unplanned mid-road rendezvous.
“Hey, I almost passed you by,” Faith says as her window rolls down.
“Yeah, I didn’t even see your truck,” Tim replies.
“I love you!” Faith adds before driving away.
“Love you, too, babe,” Tim says.
As country’s hottest supercouple, Tim and Faith have never been busier. And never has making time for family — or each other — been a greater challenge. But now with their Soul 2 Soul Tour 2000, the Nashville lovebirds have found an exciting way to keep from becoming two SUVs that pass in the night.
“We’ve always wanted to tour together since ‘Its Your Love,’ ” explains Tim, as he steers his truck once again toward downtown Music City. “But the timing with our careers was never right. Now it’s perfect.” The 23-city tour kicks off in Atlanta on July 12.
“We’ve got enough songs under our belts. People want to see us together doing a show, and we want to be together.”
It’s been four years since romantic chemistry first exploded between Tim and Faith during their Spontaneous Combustion Tour. It was on that tour that they fell in love.
“When we started touring together, I wasn’t involved with anyone, but she was,” Tim recalls. “But you can’t be around Faith and not fall in love with her. Things just kind of happened. When two people are meant to be together, there’s nothing that’s going to keep them apart.”
Since October 1996, Tim and Faith have weathered the rigors of balancing a dual-celebrity marriage and eventually parenting two daughters, Gracie, 3, and Maggie, 2. Amazingly, they’ve managed it all without spending more than three days at a time apart.
“Nothing’s hard when you have your priorities right and you know what’s important,” declares Tim.
Most recently, they’ve weathered Tim’s brush with the law following a George Strait Festival appearance in Buffalo, N.Y. Tim was arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer after coming to the assistance of Kenny Chesney, who was being forcibly removed from a policeman’s patrol horse (see sidebar).
Legal troubles aside, Tim and Faith are now clearly focusing on their new tour.
“You try to put together a roller-coaster ride,” he grins. “You want people to have highs and lows, and peaks and valleys — but not a whole lot of time to rest. You want to keep them on their feet and keep them excited.”
Tim promises he and his wife will deliver a visually stunning spectacle.
“This will be, by far, head and shoulders above anything we’ve ever done,” he explains. “It will be more visual, more dynamic than any show we’ve done before. Roy Bennett, who has designed stages for people like Tina Turner, came up with a great one for us.”
Each night, Faith will perform first and Tim will follow with his own set of massive hits. “Then we’re out there together toward the end of the night,” adds Tim, smiling.
One thing fans won’t see from Tim is fancy foot work.
“I’m no big dancer, so you’re not going to see me out there doing Ricky Martin moves or anything like that,” he says with a hearty laugh.
As for Faith’s segment, Tim has a wish list. “I really like to see her cut loose and wail on real bluesy songs,” he says. “I mean, she does everything well, but when she cuts loose, there’s nobody like her. And she’ll really get to cut loose on this show.”
Even on the road, family comes first for the McGraw-Hills. Faith has designed a special tour bus to bring Gracie and Maggie all over the country with them.
“It’s the coolest bus I’ve ever been on, that’s for sure,” exclaims Tim. “Faith knows what she’s doing when it comes to interior decorating. It’s very homey. It’s got a bedroom, bathroom, a couple bunks for the girls and toys. Toys everywhere!
“It even has a trundle bed that comes out from under our bed so Maggie can sleep with us. And it has a sink big enough for the girls to take baths in.”
There’s even room for the girls to play all day. “They’ll have a tent with all their toys,” says Tim. “The main thing for us is making sure they’re happy and comfortable out on the road.
“Gracie’s even started sleeping on her own on the bus. She’s real excited that she’s a ‘big girl’ now because she can sleep in her own bunk. She has her own TV, and Ricky Martin, Britney Spears and Dixie Chicks posters, too. She’s set.”
Tim relishes all aspects of fatherhood. “I like to be involved in every part of my children’s lives,” says Tim. “Their school, their diaper changing, their fevers and earaches and going to the doctor. Everything.”
Mom and dad may be the ones onstage, but Maggie and Gracie are helping pick the set list for the show.
“The girls’ favorite song of mine is ‘I Like It, I Love It,’ ” says Tim, “and they love Faith’s ‘The Way You Love Me’ and ‘This Kiss.’ The girls like to watch the shows, too. The hardest part is keeping them off the stage. They want to run out there and dance and sing.”
With two famous parents, Maggie and Gracie don’t know any other life but the stage. “I don’t know if they’re old enough to understand what we do yet,” Tim says. “They think that everybody does it, especially because their best buds are Martina and John McBride’s kids.”
Tim’s obviously a man who’s in love with his children. “Being married and having kids changes your whole focus,” he reveals. “Now it’s what’s good for the whole family. It totally changes the way you think.”
That’s why he was especially elated to be recently named the National Fatherhood Initiative’s Father of the Year in a Washington ceremony.
“That’s the best award that I’ve ever gotten,” Tim says humbly. “All the others don’t compare. The National Fatherhood Initiative is a great organization.
“Seeing my wife sitting there in tears when I was giving my speech and knowing how proud she was, and how proud I was of my girls,” says Tim, pausing for a moment to collect his thoughts. “I’m just such a lucky guy.”
But luck isn’t the half of it. With a string of multi-million selling albums, ton of No. 1 hits and a mantle full of awards, Tim’s on a roll. When he isn’t on stage for the Soul 2 Soul Tour, he’ll be in the studio working on the follow-up to his multi-platinum A Place In The Sun.
His production career is also taking off with Jo Dee Messina’s new album, Burn, and an upcoming debut CD for an all-brother act The Clark Family Experience. Tim couldn’t be happier.
“It means that what I love to do for a living is working for me,” he says.
Things are working pretty well for Mrs. McGraw, too. Faith has sold more than 18 million albums of her own and continues to ride the radiowaves. Fresh from topping the country and pop charts with “Breathe,” Faith recently scored yet another No. 1 with “The Way You Love Me.”
Her next single is a duet with her favorite partner, Tim the sexy ballad “Let’s Make Love.” But Tim quickly squelches any rumors of a duet album in the near future.
“We’d love to see that happen,” he says, “but I don’t see it happening any time soon. Our records are selling so well individually that we don’t want to release a record that’s going to compete against those. It would be like a third act against two other acts. But I’m sure eventually it will happen.”
What audiences will see happen is onstage magic that only these two lifetime soulmates can deliver. “Faith and I know each other so well it’s like we’re twins,” says Tim. “It’s going to be pretty amazing.”
SOUL2SOUL TOUR SCHEDULE 7/11/00
- July 12 Atlanta
- July 13 Birmingham, Ala.
- July 15 Raleigh, N.C.
- July 16 Greenville, S.C.
- July 18 Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
- July 19 Tampa, Fla.
- July 21 New Orleans
- July 22 Memphis, Tenn.
- July 26 Denver
- July 28 Salt Lake City
- July 29 Las Vegas
- July 31 San Jose, Calif.
- August 4 Anaheim, Calif.
- August 5 San Diego
- August 6 Phoenix
- August 8 Sacramento, Calif.
- August 11 Portland, Ore.
- August 12 Tacoma, Wash.
- August 13 Spokane, Wash.
- August 15 Boise, Idaho
- August 18 Fargo, N.D.
- August 19 Minneapolis
- August 20 Chicago