Tim McGraw headed to late-night television once again this week, performing his new song "Hard to Stay Mad At" on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Clad in his signature black cowboy hat, a dark shirt and jeans, McGraw sat on a stool in front of a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows in an alcove in his home decorated with full-length curtains, his band behind him for accompaniment and a music stand propped next to McGraw. Written by powerhouse Nashville songwriters Luke Laird, Shane McAnally and Lori McKenna, the sweet song is just what it sounds like, a love letter to the person McGraw finds "hard to stay mad at."
"If you weren't so damn stubborn / We would've never got this far / Be just another casualty, two people in a bar," the chorus reads. "Here we are, another day / Every time I walk away I walk right back / You're hard to stay mad at." The full band behind him doesn't take away from McGraw's voice, as well as the love he conveys through the lyrics.
"Hard to Stay Mad At" is from McGraw's new album Here on Earth, which was released this month and is McGraw's first solo album in five years. On Wednesday, McGraw was announced as one of the performers for this year's ACM Awards and will take the stage at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, one of three venues the annual show will broadcast from next month. The country star will perform his recent single, "I Called Mama."
McGraw told Today's Willie Geist that he began working on Here on Earth at the end of his 2018 Soul2Soul Tour with wife Faith Hill. "It was sort of on purpose because I did that because I found that the times I've spent working with Faith, especially touring with Faith, that my records got sort of exponentially better because having to sing with her every night is like a NASCAR trying to keep up with an IndyCar," he joked. "She's truly, in my opinion, one of the greatest singers that's ever sang a song."
After declaring that his wife makes him a better performer, McGraw explained that he wanted to put together "a 30,000-foot view of life" made up of "intimate" vignettes. When the album's title track arrived, "it sort of became the tentpole," he explained, adding that some of his own defining moments were when he met his wife and when he became a father for the first time. "I think for everyone, those things happen when you realize what you're doing and why you're doing it and what you're here for," the 53-year-old said. "The fathers out there can appreciate the first time that you hold your child is certainly the moment that you realize that anything else that you do has meant nothing until this moment."