Three songs -- "Welcome to the Club," "Memory Lane," and "Two Steppin' Mind" -- appeared on the bottom half of the Billboard singles chart, which suggested that Tim McGraw had some talent but wasn't anything special...yet. In a year that introduced Clay Walker and Doug Supernaw, hardly anybody noticed this young-hat act at the time (but they would), while his contemporaries have already become has-beens. Signed to Curb Records, McGraw, a Louisiana native, would quickly establish himself, becoming a superstar and a modern-day legend of contemporary country music who has yet to rest on his laurels. Produced by Byron Gallimore, this debut is memorable if only for those three singles, and the trademark voice that harked back to the tradition begat by Merle Haggard and George Jones, though McGraw is also deeply stylistically indebted to singers like Randy Travis and George Strait. And even though McGraw's sound at the time was a bit generic, he would soon delve deeply -- with his own crack band, the Dancehall Doctors -- into country-rock, blues, and even hip-hop for inspiration. Not only would he find them, he would turn the country world on its ear in doing so. Of all his peers, McGraw is the real thing, and the roots of that individuality are heard on this set; it contains the grain of that now instantly identifiable voice.
Tim McGraw Review
by Brian Mansfield