Tim McGraw is, indeed, humble when opening up about his latest hit, “Humble and Kind.”
“I had that song for a while and was a little afraid of it, because I loved it so much,” the country star tells Rolling Stone Country of the Lori McKenna-penned thinker. “The version I had was just her and an acoustic guitar. Her delivery of it is so emotional. . . I’ve known Lori for years, and I didn’t want to screw the song up for her because it’s such a great song. And I didn’t want to screw it up for me, since I love listening to it so much!”
McKenna is likely more than fine with it. Her friend and one-time producer (McGraw was behind the board for McKenna’s 2007 Unglamorous album) released a video for the tune back in January in collaboration with Oprah Winfrey’s TV series, Belief. And this week, it was announced that a book of the same title will hit stores this spring.
Hachette Books’ Humble and Kind will feature the song’s poignant lyrics, along with illustrations, an introduction written by McGraw and epilogue by McKenna. It’s set to hit stores May 17th.
“Humble and Kind” reads like a parent’s letter to a child who’s about to fly the coop, with the protagonist compiling a list of important life lessons: “Don’t expect a free ride from no one,” McGraw sings. “Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why/Bitterness keeps you from flying/Always stay humble and kind/Know the difference between sleeping with someone/And sleeping with someone you love/’I love you’ ain’t no pick up line so/Always stay humble and kind.” A father of three daughters, the singer cut the song just as his oldest was headed off to college.
“Our kids are growing up, so I thought [‘Humble and Kind’] was something necessary for them to hear,” he says. “This is something that if you’re smart enough to sit down with your kids and tell them something, this is something you’d want them to know. And this time in our world, it’s something people need to hear.
“You can look at it as something you were taught as a kid, or something you want to teach your kids,” he continues. “But it’s also about looking in the mirror.”
“Humble and Kind” has inspired an entire movement, as seen on StayHumbleandKind.com, where people post testimonies about acts of kindness. McGraw’s proceeds from the book will go to the Neighbor’s Keeper Fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, which helps a variety of charitable efforts.