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"I Called Mama" takes Tim McGraw on a tearful journey back to his beginnings in Louisiana

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Big Machine

For Tim McGraw, “I Called Mama” is much more than just his latest top ten hit. It’s a tribute his mother Betty.

“My mom, she… found out she was pregnant with me her senior year in high school, so she had me young,” Tim explains. “She didn’t get to graduate because I came along.”

“And then she went through some terrible things early in my life,” he continues. “So I have a lot of memories of all those things and I know how resilient my mom is, and how tough she is, and how strong of a woman she is, and how well she raised us under the circumstances.”

Though he’s a superstar now, Tim still has vivid memories of his humble beginnings in Louisiana.

“I can remember us being on our own — my mom and my two sisters — and her working three jobs probably, just to try to keep the basics,” he recalls, choking back tears. “She made no money, really.”

“I can remember walking through the kitchen one night, getting up late, and… she had her head down on the table at like two in the morning with bills everywhere and was crying, and she didn’t see me. But for her that was probably a hundred different nights that I didn’t know about.”

“But that’s something that really resonates with me and sticks out with me,” Tim reflects. “And I think about that when I hear this song.”

At the age of 11, Tim learned that professional baseball player Tug McGraw was his dad, and went on to develop a relationship with him before his death in 2004.

“I Called Mama” is the lead single from Tim’s new album, Here on Earth, which comes out August 21.

By Stephen Hubbard
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