Tim McGraw has been cutting hit songs since the early nineties. Since then he has become one of the best-selling musicians of all time. He has raked in a slew of awards and over two dozen chart-toppers. To say that McGraw is a country music superstar is an understatement. He is known for many things. However, recording classic outlaw country songs isn’t one of them. That’s what makes the video so cool.
In this video, Tim McGraw and his band are in the back of what looks like a U-Haul truck jamming. The song they’re doing, “I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I’m Gonna Be a Diamond Someday)” is an absolute gem. According to the video description, McGraw and the guys recorded this song in the back of a truck before the Jacksonville, Florida stop on his 2015 Shotgun Rider Tour.
Tim McGraw Covers an Outlaw Country Classic
John Anderson made “I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal,” popular back in 1981. It was the first single from his album John Anderson 2 and hit number 4 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks Chart. It’s another one of those songs that just about anyone can relate to. It’s all about transformation and becoming a better version of yourself.
We would be remiss if we didn’t tell you a little more about this classic tune. Billy Joe Shaver, one of the greatest songwriters in history, wrote and recorded the song originally. Before John Anderson made it a hit and long before Tim McGraw covered it in a truck, it was a statement of faith.
Billy Joe Shaver wrote the song on a cliff overlooking the Narrows of the Harpeth River in Kingston Springs, Tennessee, according to an interview. He had taken the long treacherous walk up to the cliff to end his life. Shaver was deep into drug addiction and alcoholism. He was driving his family insane. The songwriter was ready to end it all. Then, he saw a small rock formation that looked like an altar. There, he dropped to his hands and knees and begged God for salvation. At the same time, he came up with the first few lines of the song.
See, the reason that it’s so cool to see someone as big as Tim McGraw singing “Old Chunk of Coal,” is because it has such deep meaning. To everyone who hears it, the song is an upbeat number about working to be a better man. However, Shaver wrote the first part of that song in a pivotal moment in his life. As the first lines of the song formed in his mind, he was starting the long journey away from drugs and toward Jesus.
It doesn’t matter if you’re listening to one of Shaver’s cuts of the song, John Anderson’s version, or Tim McGraw’s impromptu cover, the sentiment remains the same. We all start as old chunks of coal. The journey to being a blue, pure, perfect diamond is what life is all about.