Tim McGraw Reveals How He Talked Taylor Swift, Keith Urban into ‘Highway Don’t Care’ Collab

by Emily Morgan

Almost eight years ago, country singer Tim McGraw collaborated with Taylor Swift and Keith Urban on the song, “Highway Don’t Care.” McGraw featured the track on his Two Lanes of Freedom album. He re-released the jaw-dropping collab on a new compilation album: McGraw Machine Hits: 2013-2019.  

During an interview on new video series about McGraw Machine Hits: 2013-2019, McGraw took a moment to reflect on the project.

“At first, I just wanted to go in and make a great record. Certainly, I had Taylor in mind all along for doing the female part on that. I just thought she’d be perfect,” McGraw continued, “I never wanted to put any pressure on anybody and didn’t know if it would actually happen, but that was sort of my dream person to do that role. But firstly, I wanted to go in the studio before any of that could happen and make a great record. And a record that when you present it to another artist that you want to do a project with, you wanna give them something that’s great.

Once Taylor decided she was gonna do it, then I really wanted Keith. Because I’m a huge fan of his playing, I’m a fan of his singing and just of the person he is as well.”


Tim McGraw Recruits Taylor Swift, Keith Urban to create Country Music Masterpiece

“I sent it over to Keith,” he recalls, “and right away he sent it back and was very happy to play on it.”

The formula of both Urban and McGraw’s guitar skills produced a country music track unlike any other. “When I sent it over to him, and he laid his guitar track down on it, it blew me away. We had a really good guitar track already on there that I liked a lot,” he laughed, “and you don’t want to have to tell Keith Urban that you like the other track better.”

Written by Mark Irwin, Josh Kear, Brad Warren, and Brett Warren, the song quickly became a No. 1 hit. After it was release in 2013, the song went on to take awards such as CMA’s Musical Event of the Year, the ACM’s Video of the Year, BMI’s Country Awards Top 50 Songs and more.

“It really made it an iconic record,” McGraw added. “With Taylor on there, which I think is one of her best vocal performances ever and Keith just blazing the guitar like he did, I think that took that record to a whole other level.”

At the 47th annual CMA Awards, the three superstars delivered a powerful performance of the song. That night, the trio would make headlines when they nabbed the 2013 CMAs Musical Event of the Year award.