Image Courtesy Big MachineFans who flip through the liner notes of Tim McGraw‘s brand-new album, Sundown Heaven Town, will notice a seemingly random photo of a teenage girl from the 1960s wearing a mini-skirt and go-go boots is included on the back page. It’s a photograph of Tim’s mother, Betty, in the mid-’60s, around the time she got pregnant with her now-famous son.

When the photograph was taken, Betty was part of a dance troupe that backed up pop stars who played in her hometown of Jacksonville, FL. Betty was also working on fulfilling her dream of joining the dance team on the ABC music variety show Where the Action Is, when she started up a summer romance with Tim’s father, Tug McGraw, who was playing for a minor league team in Jacksonville at the time.

Tim explains, “She ended up getting pregnant. It was her senior year in high school. She found out she was pregnant with me, and she got a callback to audition for Where the Action Is, and she couldn’t do it because she found out she was pregnant with me.”

Betty had to drop out of school and go to Louisiana while she was pregnant with Tim so no one would know she was an unwed mother.  

“To me, that was sort of the moment in time that my mom’s whole life changed,” Tim says of that picture of his mother. “To be on my album project and have a picture of her sort of is full circle in a lot of ways that maybe I helped her fulfill, at least vicariously maybe some of her dream.”

Appropriately enough, Tim’s latest hit is titled “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s.” That song is included on Sundown Heaven Town along with Tim’s new single, “Shotgun Rider.”

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