It's been nearly three years since Tim McGraw has released a studio album. Last March, he released Greatest Hits 2: Reflected, which became his ninth consecutive album to debut at No. 1 on the charts. On March 27th, he'll release his 11th album, Let It Go, which features the single "Last Dollar (Fly Away)." "I am really excited about this new studio album," says McGraw. "It was great to work with Byron Gallimore, Darran Smith and my band in the studio again and to build upon our work together."
More of a happy-go-lucky artist in his younger days, Tim McGraw here sounds as if he carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. After the comparatively lighthearted, irresistibly catchy opening single, "Last Dollar (Fly Away)," most of the midtempo material that follows ranges from the somber to the morose. There's the night-shift weariness of "I'm Workin'," the alcohol-drenched heartbreak of "Whiskey and You," and the soul-tortured title track. Even a song with the upbeat title "Put Your Lovin' on Me" has McGraw asking his lover to "be my drug" and "take this weight off me." Things turn positively lethal with "Between the River and Me," the story of revenge on an alcoholic, wife-beating stepfather. The set also features the obligatory duet of marital devotion with Faith Hill ("I Need You") and a couple of nods toward classic country ("Kristofferson" and the closing "Shotgun Rider," which could be McGraw's "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys"). "Nothin' to Die For" returns to the inspirational vein of "Live Like You Were Dying," but little here finds McGraw in a feel-good mode. --Don McLeese