Tim McGraw’s ‘Where the Green Grass Grows’: Story Behind the Hit Song About Going Back to Small Town Roots

by Suzanne Halliburton

Tim McGraw and his songs offer such an authentic experience to them. That’s what made “Where the Green Grass Grows,” such a great country tune.

McGraw released the song in 1998. It was one of six singles released from his smash “Everywhere” album, McGraw’s fourth via the studio. The CMA voted McGraw’s work album of the year. “Where the Green Grass Grows” was one of four singles on the album that zoomed to No. 1. It’s difficult to surpass that kind of success.

But what’s the song about? Well, it tells the story of a man leaving the big city and going back to his old hometown. The guy in the song is from a town so small that it’s a “map dot” with a “stop sign on a black top.” A young man wanted to leave such a tiny town for the big city. Yet, the grass is always greener when you’re somewhere else. He desires to return home with his love and raise his family in a simpler kind of life.

Tim McGraw grew up in a small town in Louisiana, then moved to Nashville. So, he knows what he’s singing about.

Because, as the song says: “All of this glitter is getting dark. There’s concrete growin’ in the city park. I don’t know who my neighbors are. There’s bars on the corners and bars on my heart.”

Tim McGraw Song Is So Relatable For Those Former Small Towners

We can relate to that, right? And we celebrate with the final chorus:

“I’m gonna live where the green grass grows. Watch my corn pop up in rows. Every night be tucked in close to you. Raise our kids where the good Lord’s blessed. Point our rocking chairs towards the west. And plant our dreams where the peaceful river flows. Oh, where the green grass grows.”

It does sound blissful.

Tim McGraw’s song came from the minds of songwriters Craig Wiseman and Jess Leary. They both yearned for a change of scenery as they wrote the song.

Wiseman said in the book, Nashville Songwriter:

“So there was a little bit of that feeling of, ‘Man, the city’s wearing me out, it’s kinda good to get back to some kind of roots thing. So we both had some of that going on and were trying to touch on that – a little bit of being tired of the urban thing, and simplicity appealing to you again.”

Wiseman wrote a signature Tim McGraw song — “Live Like You Were Dying.” He also penned “The Cowboy In Me,” another McGraw song that reached No. 1. Wiseman’s words definitely ring true when McGraw sings them.

So, turn your rockers to the west and give this song a listen. We’re going back home, at least for a little while. And, if you want to read more Outsider coverage on Tim McGraw, click it here, here and here.