Back in the early ’90s, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and Tracy Lawrence were all rising stars, trying to make their mark in country music. The three men also happened to be in a wedding together, where Brooks left an indelible mark on McGraw.
“When I first moved to town, oddly enough, there was a girl named Tammy Rose who sort of took new artists under their wing when they first moved to town, and Garth Brooks was a friend of hers,” McGraw recalled on Beyond The Influence Radio with Tim McGraw on Apple Music Country. “I was a friend of hers. Tracy Lawrence was a friend of hers. And so when she got married, she asked Garth, me and Tracy Lawrence to be her bridesmaids and Garth … had just blown up, big. Tracy had had hits. I had just gotten a record deal and hadn’t had a hit. So we’re all bridesmaids at this wedding for Tammy and I’m standing there. I’m sort of in awe.”
Lawrence and McGraw had already been friends, but he hadn’t had a chance to get to know Brooks, whose career had just exploded with hits like “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old),” “If Tomorrow Never Comes” and others.
“I’m sort of in awe of Garth being there,” McGraw recounted. “I went up to Garth and I said, ‘You know, I just want to thank you Garth, because you knocked the door down for all the things that I wanted to do as a country singer. I wanted to come to town and record songs that had a broader melody or broader appeal and I wanted to do shows that were like the rock shows that I saw growing up. That’s the kind of thing that I wanted to do.’ And he said something really profound to me, and it stuck with me to this day.
“He goes, ‘Look, we all moved to town for that reason. I just got here first,'” he continued. “And I thought that that was really sweet of him to say that, but really, really perceptive of him to say that too, as well, because we were all thinking those sorts of things. We all grew up in that environment. Seeing, watching, hearing all these different influences and wanting to include them in the genre of music that we chose to make.”
McGraw’s first hit was “Indian Outlaw,” released in 1994, five years after Brooks’ first Top 10 hit.