March 22, 2016
Tim McGraw song urging simple virtues to be published as book
by Kait Howard
Sometimes a simple song can hit a deep nerve. That’s the implicit intention of Tim McGraw’s recent single, “Humble and Kind,” which has been so well received as an inspirational call to arms that it’s being transcribed with illustrations for a new gift book coming in May.
Rolling Stone reports that Hachette will release an illustrated volume of the lyrics of the song, which was penned and originally performed by McGraw’s fellow country singer Lori McKenna before McGraw recorded his own version for his most recent album, Damn Country Music.
“Hold the door, say please and thank you / Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie / I know you got mountains to climb / But always stay humble and kind.” “Humble and Kind” reads like a parent’s letter to a child who’s about the enter the adult world. It was released with a video juxtaposing spare shots of McGraw singing against a dark background with footage from Oprah‘s TV series, Belief, of people from around the world in scenes of celebration, worship, or with family. Basically your average commercial, however poignant the message.
“Don’t expect a free ride from no one / Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why…” Aside from a final verse urging the child to “shut off the AC” in the summer and cool down with a root beer or popsicle instead (to combat global warming, try an icy treat!), the lyrics veer away from any overtly political messaging, a hallmark of more than a few country songs I can think of in this vein. As Reverb Press reported, McGraw has been criticized by some of his fans for his support of Barack Obama (warning: comments in linked article contain profanity), and it’s not too difficult to read “Humble and Kind” as a reaction to the acrimonious bent the Republican presidential election has taken.
But McGraw keeps it simple. As Rolling Stone reports, the song inspired “an entire movement, as seen on [McGraw’s site] StayHumbleandKind.com, where people post testimonies about acts of kindness.” And “proceeds from the book will go to McGraw and Faith Hill’s Neighbor’s Keeper Fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, which helps a variety of charitable efforts.”
Kait Howard was a publicist at Melville House.