Review: Tim McGraw - “Poet’s Resumé”

The country music icon continues to deliver brilliant songs and with this project he stands up for impactful songs, no matter if they’re “radio material” or not.

As streaming music has overtaken curated playlists of radio stations as the primary source of listening, impactful tracks have often fallen by the wayside for the flashy “look at me” or “listen to me” kinds of songs, especially true in country music streaming tendencies where viral success hinges on songs about “fudge rounds” or even more provocative types of songs. Thankfully, though, we have artists like Tim McGraw around making music that speaks to them. So much so that only 6 months after he released the brilliant Standing Room Only album, he’s back with a surprise EP (Poet’s Resumé) which serves as a wonderful end of the year gift to fans new and old.

The Warren Brothers, Matt McGinn and Lindsay Rimes’ “Running Outta Love” opens up the EP and is full of hope and honesty while “Hurt People” is another great notch in the lyrical genius of Tom Douglas as he writes a lyric that is so impactful with Sara Beth Geoghegan and Brett Taylor. There are great lines about how the beauty of life is that broken and hurt people are the kind people that help other hurt people heal. Such a powerful song and one that hopefully will find a massive audience somewhere. This is the kind of song that needs to be part of a stage show, film, closing concert sing-a-long or award show moment. It just demands such a big moment for the impact the lyrics have.
“20 For 30” is impactful in it’s honesty of a couple where a man has kind of stayed the same even though he’s now much older (50) than he was when the met (when he was 20) And even though they’ve both grown up together, and there are moments when she wishes he would act his age and not be the guy she fell in love with back then all the while no matter how much her looks change, she’s still the beautiful woman he fell in love. Overall, the emotion, from the mighty pens of Lance Miller and The Warren Brothers, is impactful.
“One Bad Habit” has a classic modern country vibe to its lyrics (written by Aaron Eshuis, Tony Lane and Marc Beeson) and it’s the kind of song that may be the most “conventional” on this record but there’s a poetic nature to the song still. It’s about a man being a “wild” card of sorts and he’s constantly the ‘one bad habit I hope she never breaks.’ It’s a sentiment many can relate to and so much so that it’s the follow-up single to “Standing Room Only” from McGraw for radio in 2024, a surprise single since the previous album only had one single released from it.
“Been Around Awhile” is an anthemic track written by Jeffrey Steele, Anthony Smith and Steve Dorff and this one is all about a man who understands who he is now, “I’ve been around a while, somehow found God on a hellbound Train, I’ve lost friends, made some, broke hearts in the name of love and it was worth every single mile. I’ve been around awhile.”
Frequent McGraw collaborator Lori McKenna co-writes “Poet’s Resumé” with Josh Osborne and Scott Stepakoff and it’s, again, the kind of great song that is very impactful with beautiful Jimmy Webb-like melodic moments backing up the impactful lyrics about the power of being a songwriter or storyteller, “When you work in heartache, you still earn those callouses, words on a napkins in dead languages, everybody loves him, but nobody every stays, another whiskey to unwind, another less-than-perfect rhyme on a Poet’s Resumé.”
Throughout the course of these six songs we are constantly proven why Tim McGraw remains one of country music’s best treasures. Even though he’s had 69 Top 10 country chart hits, he’s still finding impactful songs that have helped him build up a brilliant Poet’s Resumé of his own. This Poet’s Resumé EP is a great addition to his catalog of music and finds the artist still very much vibrant 30 years into his career as a top of the charts hitmaker.
Tim McGraw Poet’s Resume EP