Tim McGraw Had a ‘Visceral Reaction’ When He First Heard ‘Hey Whiskey’

Tim McGraw is sharing details behind his new single, “Hey Whiskey,” out now. The song is from his new Standing Room Only album, out on August 25. Brad and Brett Warren, better known as the Warren Brothers, wrote “Hey Whiskey” alongside Joel Hutsell and Brad Hutsell.

“When I first heard it, it just blew me away, ’cause it made it a character,” McGraw says on Apple Music Country’s Today’s Country Radio with Kelleigh Bannen. “It’s your nemesis and your best friend, which is what that is, which is what addiction is. It’s your nemesis and your best friend at the same time. To make whiskey a character in a song, like a real-life character that you’re talking to, is something that I’d never heard before.

“I’m sure there are songs out there that have done that,” he adds, “but the way it was written, and what it said, was so heartfelt and meaningful.”

By his own admission, the 56-year-old has never had a reaction to any song he has ever recorded, throughout his thirty-plus years in country music, until “Hey Whiskey.”

“I had a visceral reaction to it,” McGraw admits. “And that is the very first tracking vocal, of the very first time we ran through the song. We kept every bit of it, and it’s because it was so raw and so emotional.”

McGraw got sober in 2008, but says not drinking will always be hard for him. Still, it’s a challenge that is made a lot easier because of the support of his wife, Faith Hill.

“It’s always a struggle. It’s never not a struggle,” McGraw tells People. “Those demons always come back. But you always have a partner that’s willing to fight them with you. We made a commitment to each other a long time ago that we’re not going to give up. It’s too easy to give up.”

“Hey Whiskey” is just one of 13 tracks on Standing Room Only that McGraw is eager for the rest of the world to hear.

“There are a couple of really life-affirming songs that I can’t wait for everybody to hear,” McGraw reveals on Audacy’s Katie & Company. “One called ‘Letter From Heaven’ that really just tears me up every time I hear it. You’re gonna have to have a Kleenex for that one. But there are some fun songs too.”

The father of three also vows that Standing Room Only will have a nod to the music that influenced his own career.

“There are some really good, sort of throwback country things on this that I really enjoy doing, and got into my George Strait vein a little bit,” he says. “There’s a good mixture of stuff. I always try to do that with every album. I never want to just have one style of song on the album. I want to give you sort of a smorgasbord to choose from.”

All of McGraw’s music and upcoming shows can be found at TimMcGraw.com.