Set This Circus Down

by: Tim McGraw

Tim McGraw's first studio album on Curb Records after the multi-platinum success of A Place in the Sun delivers a more diverse selection in its 14 tunes with longtime producers Byron Gallimore and James Stroud. From the energetic honky tonk sound of "Forget About Us," to the upbeat tempo of "Telluride" to the Latin-laced "Let Me Love You," McGraw masterfully and consistently flows from one sound style to the next. Yet his familiar country-pop sound remains evident throughout, especially on the title track, a song about a fast-paced couple yearning to kick back and relax in the country (no one said the themes would be original). Sung with such confidence, one might believe it's a self-imposed goal set by McGraw. Just as convincing are the heartfelt ballads of "The Cowboy in Me" and "You Get Used to Somebody," and "Angel Boy." McGraw's wife, Faith Hill, contributes subtle harmonic vocals on the emotionally compelling "Angry All the Time," written by maverick Americana outsider Bruce Robison. It portrays a relationship gone sour; a tune that was added to the set list no doubt to digress from his usual slate of love songs. Although the sentimental "Grown Men Don't Cry," written by Steve Seskin and Tommy Douglas, was the first official release from the album, McGraw's uplifting performance of "Things Change" at the Country Music Awards mysteriously found its way onto Napster first. Subsequently, the album track hit the country radio airwaves, where it received not only air play, but enthusiastic response form listeners and helped to push the sales of the album even higher. McGraw's aggressive approach to Set This Circus Down makes it one of his finest efforts. ~ Deborah Wong & Thom Jurek

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