The love story of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill started on a tour two decades ago, and that sparkling chemistry onstage has made them one of the genre’s biggest headliners.
The country couple with movie-star glamour have sold more than 63 million albums in the United States between their two careers, have earned two Grammys for duets and have three children. This year, they are releasing their first-ever duet album and have started their third installment of their successful Soul2Soul World Tour, which stops at Louisville’s KFC Yum Center on Friday night.
“I haven’t been on a stage like this in 10 years, and that is no lie,” Hill said of the tour. “I can tell you right now, I am fired up.”
During an interview with the couple earlier this month, before their rehearsal at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas, Hill and McGraw were giddy with anticipation.
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“She’s ready to turn it loose,” he said.
“Age is not an issue,” Hill said. They both will turn 50 during the tour, which runs through October.
The Mississippi-born Hill and the Louisiana-born McGraw fell in love when she opened for him on his 1996 Spontaneous Combustion tour, and they married that year.
In 2000, the first Soul2Soul tour grossed $48.8 million, making it the highest-grossing country tour in North America that year, according to Pollstar. The Soul2Soul II tour was even more successful, grossing $88.8 million in 2006. It was the third-highest-grossing North American tour that year.
McGraw credited their success on the road to their differences as singers, who push each other to expand their ranges.
“Faith, I would say, is more of an R&B, sort of gospel-inspired singer,” McGraw said. “And I think I am more a ’70s rock, arena rock, Merle Haggard-meets-arena rock kind of singer. She brings me a little bit more to the R&B side, and I bring her more to the arena rock side, and I think it creates a sort of magic.”
Their first duet, “It’s Your Love,” was on McGraw’s 1997 album, “Everywhere,” which was followed by “Just to Hear You Say That You Love Me,” from Hill’s multiplatinum album “Faith.” Since then, they have had several popular duets, including their latest, “Speak to A Girl,” which jumped into the Top 10 of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart after they performed it on the ACM Awards.
They say they don’t always agree in music, or in marriage, but commitment is key, McGraw said.
“Look, there is no secret,” Hill said. “Either you like one another or you don’t. You want to stay married or you don’t. You work at it, or you don’t. Simple as that. It is not always easy, and there are moments that are rocky.”
“But you don’t walk away,” McGraw said.
“I would rather live a life in rocky road ice cream than vanilla any day of the week,” Hill said. “Honestly, vanilla gets boring after a couple of days.”
A smiling McGraw said: “So I am not vanilla!”