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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 16 June 2014
At last year’s Country 2 Country music festival I attended Day 2, and missed Tim McGraw playing on Day 1. At the time I wasn't that fussed, not knowing who Tim McGraw was outside of his starring role in Country Strong. Bear that in mind as you read this review…

I was drawn to Two Lanes of Freedom after recently seeing a few people mention that it was rockier than his normal material. Not having listened to any Tim McGraw previously I had nothing as a reference to what his usual sound is, but as someone who grew up loving 80s hair rock, anything labelled rockier is going to appeal to me. I have to admit, after the first few songs I had to wonder what the pace of his previous songs was, as this didn't seem that rocky, well, apart from some pretty slick guitar solos. In fact, coming to think of it, those guitar solos, especially in Friend of a Friend and Southern Girl were reminiscent of the those I’d heard played by long haired spandex wearing bands 3 decades ago. That’s a good thing in case you were wondering. Though my own guitar playing has started but stumbled at the first hurdle many times, my appreciation for good axe handling is very high.

Spoke to soon didn't I, as the fifth song on the album, Truck yeah, certainly upped the rock stakes, with an intro that kind of reminded me of Insane Clown Posse’s Take It. To answer your question, I was a wrestling fan back in the day and that song was part of World Championship Wrestling, okay? Anyway, Truck Yeah – awesome! Every album, well most, need a song that you want to roll the windows down and crank up whilst driving along, and this is Two Lanes of Freedom’s. There are plenty of examples of reflection, melancholy and sentiment elsewhere on this album, this is an ar$e kicking anthem that could well be my new getting ready to go out song. We even get it again later on in the album in the form of a live version, complete with a testosterone pumping, engine revving intro – Truck Yeah!

After that we go straight into a song called Nashville Without You which celebrates Nashville and all the talent that has made it so special. Nobody is mentioned by name, but if you know your country music history, you know who is being referenced. The people alluded too are pretty mainstream, so you don’t need to be a Music City anorak to get them, after all, I did!

So it was the rock reputation that got me interested, it was the rock solos and song that first caught my attention, but after a few listens it was the amazing storytelling that really made me sit up and take notice. Take for example Annie I Owe You A Dance – an absolutely beautiful song about a guy regretting not taking his girlfriend to the prom, but finally getting the dance he’d promised, in the supermarket. I really haven’t done it justice with that short description, but suffice to say, this is a song that almost brought me to tears whilst listening to it in my car on the way to work. This is listed as a bonus track and if that means the vanilla version never included this song, well, that’s an absolute travesty.

Throw in the aforementioned Friend of a Friend and Number 37405 and you have three songs that tell as good a story as is possible in 3 – 4 minutes. How can a guy being locked up for killing someone whilst drink driving be good material for a song? You’d be forgiven for wondering that, but listening to Number 37405 and it all becomes clear, and is a song which is one of the highlights of an incredible album.

This is a collection of songs that are so varied that there really is one for very occasion and mood. However they don’t feel out of place with each other, and I love the juxtaposition of going from Annie I Owe You A Dance to Mexicoma, which opens with the line I'm sitting’ here stoned, at Tortilla Jo’s and has a chorus I've been singing to myself all day.

I haven’t even mentioned the best known song on Two Lanes of Freedom, which is a collaboration between Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban. You may have heard of it, Highway Don’t Care? This is a song that sits a top a lot of people’s songs of 2013 and is the perfect melding of three very talented musicians. Tim and Taylor’s voices work in perfect contrast and you can say what you want about Taylor Swift, and much has been said, but the girl has a stupendous voice. Keith on guitar is a virtuoso and has me thinking an album of his should be my next country music purchase.

The more I listen to this album the more I like it, to the point where I'm not sure where it will sit in my list of top albums of 2013 that I am currently working on. Could it really take away that top spot from an artist many would never think I would see usurped from number one? It’s Your World having an almost Steve Vai-esque solo in it could help, given that Mr Vai is somewhat of a guitar her of mine.

Two Lanes of Freedom is a superb album which demonstrates Tim’s skill as a singer, songwriter, musician and as someone who can give us a bunch of songs that showcase both his fun and sensitive sides in fabulous harmony. I'm sure I'm not the only one who after listening to Book of John will at least try to start keeping a physical record of experiences and memories. I honestly can’t recommend this album enough, and if you are one of the few, like myself, who didn't buy it last year, then please get it now, as a matter of importance.
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on 23 June 2017
Great songs
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on 8 January 2014
Again this was bought for my husband but it's really good and much better than the last one I got him - which was good as well, but this is better.
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on 20 March 2013
In my view a country album should do a number of things; break your heart, mend your heart, make you want to drive then drive some more, make you want to slow dance in you lounge and make you want to crack open a beer and line dance in your kitchen, for me this album does all of this!

I don't think there is one bad track on it, for a me a return to the McGraw I first found and loved. Far, far better than Emotional Traffic and probably up there with Live Like You Were Dying and Set This Circus Down. It is good to have him back with some new music after the influx of Greatest Hits.

If you haven't tried a Tim McGraw album before then this would be a good one to start with, you get a bit of everything.....
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on 16 March 2013
Fantastic album ! Good mix of up beat and slow songs - can't stop playing it - just buy it and find out for yourself - you won't be disappointed.
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on 12 March 2013
from this Superstar of country who likes to rock !! On the first hearing a couple of numbers were a bit on the "Rock" side... but they grow on you.... Cant wait to see him next month !!
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on 30 April 2013
At long last Tim has been set free from Curb records and all the nonsense he has had to endure for the past 3 or so years. He sounds like a new man, it's a strong album from beginning to end. The production is excellent, especially the drums on many tracks. It must be stated though that on many songs this album does sound more like southern rock than country music!

The first single 'Truck yeah' is pure rock, but a great song, although I must say that I prefer the live version on the deluxe edition. 'It's your world' is an album highlight as is the current single 'Highway don't care' with Taylor Swift and some great guitar work from Keith Urban.

I find Tim McGraw albums pretty hit or miss, he has made some great albums, ie: 'Live like you were dying' and some that were not up to par! This is the former. Keep turning them out like this Tim!
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on 26 March 2013
I've only just recently got into country music, perhaps liking Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum had pushed me into it along with Johnny Cash. A really good CD that you can dance to, I know I have in the privacy of my room!
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on 13 July 2013
My first Tim McGraw CD after listening to many 'radio tracks' via internet radio, wasn't really sure if it would be for me as I prefer a variety of music to listen to. I needn't have worried, this is a very playable CD, a variety of catchy tunes to hum/tap along to and lyrics to make you listen closer for the messages they contain, particularly about driving and unintended consequences. I am happy I bought it, would recommend it to others as an introduction to country music and T McG in particular. I hope you enjoy too.
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on 13 April 2013
I thought this was a great album and has a reflective feel about it and some interesting thought provoking lyrics. So many great tracks on this album and if you haven't tried Tim Mcgraw before this would be a good album to start, From good rocking country to some great ballads you won't be disappointed. "Nashville without you", "Number 37405", "Annie I owe you a Dance" and "The book of John" are just some of the tracks that stand out for me.
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