Emotional Traffic

Emotional Traffic

by Tim McGraw
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After nearly two years in the vault, Tim McGraw's Emotional Traffic was released by Curb. McGraw finished it in 2010 and turned it in. Curb refused to release it, claiming it was too soon after 2009's Southern Voice (though they released another hits compilation the same year). The two parties went to court to resolve the issue. Co-produced with longtime compadre Byron Gallimore, Emotional Traffic is McGraw's most ambitious offering to date -- the credits list is enormous and the range of styles on display is wide. That said, its balance is impeccable. While its production style and arrangements stay somewhat inside contemporary country's strictly defined boundaries -- guaranteeing it radio play -- the set also confidently pushes them to the breaking point, too. Take the album opener -- the midtempo ballad "Halo." While it opens with a pedal steel whine, the electric guitars and bowed electric cellos sound like they could have come from a Snow Patrol or later Coldplay album, though they have more teeth. The chorus, however, is pure contemporary country, yet despite the production sheen, the track's emotional depth resonates. McGraw also chose to cover Dee Ervin's "One Part, Two Part," with wife Faith Hill on backing vocals. Buddy & Julie Miller also covered this tune on Written in Chalk, but McGraw's version is grittier and more R&B, and evokes a younger, wilder Delbert McCLinton. "Only Human," a duet with Ne-Yo, is a solid ballad underscored by ringing acoustic and electric guitars, and a hook in the refrain to die for (it'd be great in the redemption scene of a film). "The One" is as funky as CC gets, with its wah-wah guitars, howling B-3, and striding electric piano in the verses. Once more, the chorus brings it back inside the format but the groove remains. "Better Than I Used to Be" is another ballad, told in the time-worn country storytelling tradition. Its melody is standard radio fare, but the grain in McGraw's voice offers a conviction that carries the tune above the tropes. The lengthy, ambient guitar intro to "Felt Good on My Lips" is sly, since it's a dancehall bump number; it borrows from Jimmy Buffett's trademark, Caribbean-flavored singalong style in the middle eights. The metaphoric "Die by My Own Hand," which closes the set, is a devastating midtempo ballad with big, warm guitars and drums in the verses (so much so they could have been produced by Daniel Lanois). Pedal steel underscores the melody to evoke country before a shattering rock & roll power ballad crescendo carries it out. Emotional Traffic displays McGraw's growth as a singer and producer, and reveals his longevity at the top of a fickle field. He only records when he has something to say, and he understands the rules well enough to bend and finally break them. In doing so, he expands the narrow framework of his genre and nearly forces it to embrace the whole of popular music.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/24/2012
Label: Curb Records
UPC: 0715187932029
catalogNumber: 79320
Rank: 247524

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tim McGraw   Primary Artist,Vocals,Background Vocals
Faith Hill   Background Vocals
Rusty Anderson   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Greg Barnhill   Background Vocals
Dean Brown   Mando
Paul Bushnell   Bass
Dan Dugmore   Acoustic Guitar,Steel Guitar
Shannon Forrest   Percussion,Drums
Byron Gallimore   Electric Guitar,Background Vocals,Guitar (12 String Acoustic)
Tony Harrell   Synthesizer,Piano,Wurlitzer
Rami Jaffee   Hammond B3
Jay Joyce   Electric Guitar
Jerry McPherson   Electric Guitar
Jamie Muhoberac   Synthesizer,Piano,Wurlitzer,Hammond B3
Steve Nathan   Synthesizer,Piano,Wurlitzer,Hammond B3
Billy Mason   Drums
Denny Hemingson   Electric Guitar
Bryan Sutton   Acoustic Guitar
Jim Beavers   Background Vocals
Troy Lancaster   Electric Guitar
Angie Aparo   Background Vocals
Wes Hightower   Background Vocals
Perry Coleman   Background Vocals
Brad Warren   Background Vocals
Brett Warren   Background Vocals
Abe Laboriel   Percussion,Drums
David Levita   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
John Marcus   Bass
Darran Smith   Electric Guitar
Bob Minner   Acoustic Guitar
Ne-Yo   Vocals,Background Vocals
Jeff McMahon   Synthesizer,Hammond B3
David Dunkley   Percussion,Conga

Technical Credits

Martina McBride   Composer
Tim McGraw   Composer,Producer
Brett Beavers   Composer
Byron Gallimore   Producer
Rhett Akins   Composer
Joe West   Composer
Ty Lacy   Composer
Jim Beavers   Composer
Rivers Rutherford   Composer
Angie Aparo   Composer
Erik Lutkins   Engineer,Pro-Tools
Glenn Sweitzer   Art Direction
Brad Warren   Composer
Brett Warren   Composer
Dave Pahanish   Composer
Jason Hall   overdub engineer
Jedd Hughes   Composer
Shaffer Smith   Composer
Darran Smith   Producer
Sara Lesher   Engineer,Pro-Tools
Christian Baker   Vocal Engineer
Ashley Gorley   Composer
Luke Laird   Composer
Chad Warrix   Composer
David Tolliver   Composer
Ben Hayslip   Composer
Dallas Davidson   Composer
Bryan Simpson   Composer
Dee Ervine   Composer

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Emotional Traffic 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Joyachiever More than 1 year ago
“Emotional Traffic” by Tim McGraw contains a strong balance of songs that are themed around romance and turning adversity into positive circumstances. He took a creative turn musically with these musical tracks. “Halo” and “Right Back Atcha Babe” are two of the musical numbers that resonated with me. “Halo” appears to be a happy song about being with someone that makes you feel safe to be yourself. “Right Back Atcha Babe” sounds like a heartfelt message of bliss in a relationship. I wonder if “Right Back Atcha Babe” symbolizes the closeness that he shares with his wife Faith Hill (in a similar vein as “It’s Your Love”). “Emotional Traffic” by Tim McGraw is best for those who like songs about emerging victorious in life and/or navigating the game of life.