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CNN Larry King Live

Interview with Faith Hill and Tim McGraw

Aired April 21, 2006 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, a primetime exclusive, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw together, a rare hour with country music's reigning first couple. Faith Hill and Tim McGraw two beautiful people, two mega star careers and now together for the hour next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Good evening and welcome to a very special edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Our special guests are Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. They're joining us from Columbus, Ohio where they're kicking off the start tonight of Soul-2-Soul II Tour. It's a Soul-2-Soul II Tour and it kicks off in Columbus.

The new album of Tim's is "Reflecting Hits Volume 2." Faith Hill's new album is "Fireflies." And both albums, both debuted at number one. And the tour is sold out. What does that feel like Faith to know that every seat is gone?

FAITH HILL: Nice. It's good. It makes it just beyond exciting. We can't wait to get on stage tonight and do our thing. We're ready to go.

TIM MCGRAW: It certainly takes a lot of pressure off to start a tour off that way.

HILL: Yes, definitely.

KING: That's right. By the way why did it take six years, Tim, for you two to tour again?

MCGRAW: Well, I mean I guess, yes, it's been six years, six years since Faith has been on the road at all. You know it's been a long process. You know we've thought about it and thought about it and we wanted to do it just right. We wanted to have the right staging. We wanted to really plan out exactly what we wanted to do.

And, you know, we had kids in the meantime too growing up and starting school, so it was just a matter of everything coming together and getting the right ideas the way we want. We didn't want to go out and do it unless e could do it exactly right for the fans and give them something that was different than the last tour.

KING: Is this nervous for you, Faith?

HILL: Yes, a little bit of stage fright but I'm ready. It's been six years and a lot of planning has gone into this tour. A lot of people have worked incredibly hard for many, many, many months and it's time. I'm ready. I do have butterflies. They're big tonight but I'm ready to go.

MCGRAW: She's awesome. She's awesome.

KING: She sure is. It doesn't mean, Tim, necessarily because two singers have good voices that they will be a good duet or blend well together right?

MCGRAW: Well, not necessarily I guess. I guess there's people that don't blend well but I think for us, I mean really she's the only person that I can sing harmony with. I'm not much of a harmony singer, so and I think it's because I just hear her voice all the time and I know what she sounds like and I know her phrasing and all that thing.

HILL: Yes.

MCGRAW: So I think...

HILL: You hear me yelling at you, Tim, clean the kitchen.

MCGRAW: Yes, right. I can match her volume.

KING: Faith, did it always work the two of you sing well together?

HILL: Yes. It's always been magic from the first, the first time that we performed together on stage, which was spontaneous combustion.

MCGRAW: 1996, a long time ago.

HILL: Appropriately named. We fell in love on that tour and sang together night after night and it was just beautiful.

KING: How did you two meet?

MCGRAW: The first time we met was a radio seminar in Nashville where every year, you know, all the radio stations come down and artists perform. And they have a thing called like the New Faces Show. And I think this was probably in '95, '94-'95, and Faith and I both did the New Faces Show. And we just met briefly backstage and that was the first time we met, so it wasn't really a meeting.

And then, we did a show together like an outdoor festival show together after we had planned to do the tour and we just, we met there and then we started the tour probably about four months after that.

KING: Was the chemistry instant Faith?

HILL: It was instant, definitely.

MCGRAW: It was for me.

HILL: It was for both of us.

MCGRAW: I think I chased her for a while. HILL: Something that, you know, trying to be a grown up and smart and we both do the same thing for a living and that's, you know, the cards are kind of all stacked against us in that way.

KING: Yes.

HILL: But that definitely I have to say it went -- that fear went away when I got to know Tim and his desire for a family and a foundation like we grew -- both of us grew up with. Tim is from Louisiana. I'm from Mississippi. And, the foundation of family and the life that revolves around family when I realized that that was the most important thing for him as well there was no question in my mind at all because that's where it all begins for me too.

MCGRAW: I think also that for us too we both had successful careers and we were -- when we got married we were 29, so it wasn't like we hadn't lived life and been through a lot of things in our life and had grown up a little bit anyway. So, I think it was great timing for us and it was time for us to settle down and have a family and we knew we were right for each other.

KING: How long before it got serious Tim?

MCGRAW: For me it...

HILL: Pretty quick.

MCGRAW: ...was about two minutes, about two minutes but it was pretty quick.

HILL: Yes.

MCGRAW: I mean I think we had a pretty instant knowledge that we were going to be together forever, so it just kind of felt like it was the right thing to do. It wasn't any use wasting time.

HILL: Yes. Go for it. Why not?

KING: Do you think country fans have higher expectations of the people they like, they expect you to be close to them, expect you to communicate and expect you to live special kind of lives?

HILL: Well, you know, being that country music is the people's music really, I mean it just speaks about real life and about truth and it tells things how they really are and I think country music fans are extremely supportive. Once they're with you, they're with you for life and it's important that life revolves around family.

I mean I know a lot of our country music fans that we've had since our careers began now have grown up and now have their own families and it's because it speaks about real life and that's what Tim -- Tim and I have a life that -- our life revolves around our family and our children and that is the first thing that is ever talked about. There's not even a question what comes first.

And that's just the way actually this tour was even put together. The people that work for both Tim and I, I tell you did a brilliant job in putting this tour together, arranging it basically around our children's school schedule.

In the beginning it's only weekends until they get out of school and then after that it's all summer and then back to school. So, it's important that that is the priority.

KING: Do the kids...

MCGRAW: And I don't -- go ahead Larry.

KING: Do the kids get to come and watch you Tim?

MCGRAW: Oh, yes, they love to watch the show.

HILL: Yes, they're with us, yes.

MCGRAW: Yes, they love being on the bus. It's kind of like camping out to them, you know.

HILL: It's a big camping trip.

MCGRAW: Yes, they can have their own little bunks and all their little -- they have their own little room with all their little toys set up and stuff.

KING: We're back with Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. We'll return with them. They're Soul-2-Soul II Tour opens tonight in Columbus. They'll be in Columbus again tomorrow night and then, there's been ads all over, they'll be everywhere. Every seat sold. We're honored to have them with us tonight. We'll be right back.




KING: They're in Columbus, Ohio where their tour is starting tonight. They're Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, the two biggest names in country music. Tim's new album is "Tim McGraw, Reflected Hits Volume 2," and Faith's new album is "Fireflies." Both are number one.

How do you deal with the intense interest in your, the scrutiny, by your fans, by the media? Faith, does it ever get overwhelming?

HILL: Well, I'm not really out there that much. Most of my -- most of everything that I do is on television. And, like I said and like Tim said earlier, I have not been on the road in six years and since that time we've added another daughter to the family. We have three girls.

So, I'm not out there enough to be scrutinized. But definitely when I am it's, you know, sometimes it's hurtful and most times you just kind of have to blow it off. But because I am confident in what I do and I'm comfortable in myself in my own skin and when you're a mom and you have three children, nothing bothers you. Trust me. Who cares what people say? I've got other things to deal with. But for the most part everyone's pretty nice.

KING: What about you Tim?

MCGRAW: You know, when you've been doing this for so long, you know, you kind of become numb to a lot of the criticism and stuff (INAUDIBLE). I mean if you're going to take the good reviews you got to take the bad reviews and that's just part of the business and part of what you do.

And, you know, people, I mean I don't know about tabloids and people talk about tabloids, I don't think, I don't know if we're ever in the tabloids because we never read them.

HILL: We're not very interesting though.

MCGRAW: We're not very interesting, yes. I don't think we ever show up in them though. So if stuff like that happens we're pretty much not aware of it so, you know, we don't really pay that much attention to it I guess.

KING: If you just joined us we're talking with the boring Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. Now you say you don't get hit by the tabloids much. How about January, 2001, Faith, when on the morning of the American Music Awards you cut your hair and everybody went nuts?

HILLS: Oh, great.

KING: What was that about?

MCGRAW: Well that was -- that was...

HILL: What that I cut my hair or that people went nuts?

KING: Yes. Why did people go nuts?

HILL: I don't know.

MCGRAW: You know I cut my hair and nobody says a damn thing.

HILL: I don't think you can say that on TV.

MCGRAW: Yes, you can.

HILL: OK, well.

MCGRAW: On CNN you can say anything.

KING: Yes.

HILL: OK. I don't know. I didn't really think about it. It's one of those things that I'm connected to my fans but I'm a very independent woman and I'm a woman first of all and we change things occasionally and I didn't feel any necessity to ask anyone's opinion whether I should or not. I just did it.

MCGRAW: But you know what's funny about that...

HILL: And it was really was -- I have to say I didn't realize that everyone was so attracted to my hair. I thought, well what about my music?

KING: The two of you had tough childhoods. Do you think that's added to the strength of your union, Faith?

HILL: Well, I actually had a pretty amazing childhood. I was adopted, if that's what you're referring to, but my family, my mom and my dad and my brothers, they are amazing, very stable, good Christian, God-fearing home, and a great small town of Star, Mississippi. I actually had a really stable childhood. Tim, you know, had -- I'll let you answer that question.

MCGRAW: Well, you know, everybody, you know, nobody's childhood is the same and we had some difficult times as a kid and certainly father figures were something that wasn't the best in my life, although, you know, my stepfather who died recently just this past January was probably the most prevalent father figure that I had and he was a hard worker. He could be a hard man but he was a hard worker and, you know, worked hard for a living.

And that's where I got my roots to country music is riding in an 18-wheeler with him listening to Merle Haggard and George Jones hauling cottonseed across Louisiana and Texas. But, yes, to answer your question...

HILL: It strengthened your mom though. She's pretty powerful.

MCGRAW: Yes, my mother had incredible strength. My mother is the rock of our family and I think that to answer your question, yes, it does make us want to have a strong family unit and to really be protective of our kids and to really try to show them as normal a life as we can under the situation that we're in.

I mean we understand that their life -- we can't even really relate to what their life is like but we're going to try our best to keep it as normal for them as we can and as stable for them as we can.

KING: And you also wound up, Tim, being close to your father, your biological father, Tug McGraw right, with him when he died?

MCGRAW: Yes, yes, you know, I met Tug when I was eleven or 12 and then I never really saw him again until I was around 19. And then after about I guess 22, 23, we started becoming close and seeing each other more and more often.

And, yes, I was with him when he died and he died peacefully. My brother Mark was there and my sister Carrie (ph) on Tug's side of the -- Tug's other children and he's got another son Matthew who is in Philadelphia. KING: And, Faith, you met your biological mother right?

HILL: I did, yes.

KING: What was that like?

HILL: And I also have a -- well it was hard to put into words really what it's like. I'm not real sure I could intellectually answer that question. But it was pretty amazing I have to say. She's a wonderful woman.

And the decision to give me up for an adoption, I can't imagine that as a mother of three daughters. I can't imagine the choice to do that and how thankful I am that she was able to give me the opportunity that I had because I was placed into an incredible home that I mean basically is responsible for the way I am today and the backbone that I have in order to do this for a living, which is a crazy, sometimes unstable world that this projects. But the most important thing to me is about my family and that was definitely taught from my mom and dad.

KING: We'll take a break and be right back with more of Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. They're on stage in Columbus, Ohio where they're performing tonight, opening night of their sensational tour. And they'll do a second night in Columbus tomorrow evening. Don't go away.




KING: We're back with Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. They're starting their major tour tonight called Soul-2-Soul II Tour. Their albums are both number one.

Let's talk about the beginnings of things. Faith, you had, speak of irony, you auditioned to be the back up singer for Reba McIntyre and didn't get it. The part went to Paula Canya Evans (ph) who was killed in that plane crash with most of Reba's touring entourage. How did that make you feel?

HILL: Well, I didn't get it because I wasn't good enough. I don't think it was because -- I don't think fate had anything to do with that for me. I wasn't a great background singer and I didn't get the part.

But the first thing I thought when that happened obviously is I thought about the families of those that were lost and I thought about Reba and Narvel. I mean she's an amazing woman who is very, very close to everyone around her and I knew that that was something that it was going to be a difficult thing for her to deal with for sure. But she's a classy lady and she handled it brilliantly.

KING: She sure is. What was your big break Faith? HILL: My big break came when I was singing at the Bluebird Cafe, a great little cafe in Nashville that's mostly songwriters go and kind of share their new material. I was singing with a songwriter named Gary Burr (ph). I was singing backgrounds for him. I worked on my background singing. I was singing background for him.

And Martha Sharp (ph), an executive from Warner Brother Records happened to be in the audience that night and she came up to me afterwards and asked if I wanted to -- if I wanted to make a record, if that's what I was striving to do, what my ambitions were. Did I have a tape? I said, "I don't have a tape but I can get you one really fast." So that's basically where it started.

KING: What was yours Tim?

MCGRAW: I moved to Nashville in 1989 and put a band together, which a couple of the guys are still with me now, and we played down at a place called Printers Alley a lot (INAUDIBLE) and places like that. And Darren and John and I would travel in the van and work all over the place.

And then a guy by the name of Bruce Lindell (ph) out in California got me a meeting with Mike Borchetta (ph) at Curb Records and I took a demo tape there. A friend of mine named Donny Powers in Tallulah, Louisiana loaned me money to make a demo tape.

He's a farmer down there and I used to sing. He had a little corner store in the middle of a bunch of cotton fields I used to sing at on Wednesday nights. They had boiled crawfish and sing country music with a bunch of old guys sitting around and playing music. And, he loaned me the money to make a demo tape and I took it into Mike Borchetta and he signed me to a record deal.

KING: Mike now records my wife.

MCGRAW: He does, Mike Borchetta, yes. You know Mike well that's right. He's a great guy.

KING: Did you have a breakthrough record Faith?

HILL: I think "This Kiss," the song "This Kiss," was definitely my breakthrough song. After that "Breathe" was my breakthrough album. It just changed my career basically.

MCGRAW: "Wild One" did, "Wild One" too.

HILL: Well, "Wild One," my first single it's tough to talk about myself like this. I don't know. It's tough to talk about facts. My first single -- thank you baby, why don't you ask him this question, he can talk about me better than I can myself?

My first single did really, really well and that just I guess brought some attention to what I was doing and then "This Kiss" was a huge, huge record across the board. And then my "Breathe" album was definitely the album that changed my career for sure.

KING: And what was your initial hit Tim?

MCGRAW: The first hit that I had was a song called "Indian Outlaw." I had had an album out before that album that didn't do very well. I like to say it went wood. I still don't think it sold very many records.

KING: It went wood.

MCGRAW: But "Indian Outlaw" was my first hit and then right behind that came a song called "Don't Take the Girl," which kind of was probably a bigger seller than "Indian Outlaw." That kind of pushed it on over the top. You know if it wasn't for Byron Gallimore I have to say who is...

HILL: Absolutely.

MCGRAW: ...the guy who came -- I did a showcase at a place called Diamond in the Rough. I didn't have any money and all my friends who are musicians played. We almost had nine musicians on the stage that night and just to do a showcase for labels and he was one of the only guys to call me and we've been together ever since and he's been producing my records.

HILL: Me too.

MCGRAW: And Byron -- yes, he produces Faith.

HILL: And Dan Huff produces me.

MCGRAW: And Dan Huff, yes.

KING: We'll be right back with Faith Hill and Tim McGraw starting a major concert tour. They call it Soul-2-Soul II, the Soul- 2-Soul II Tour. They're starting in Columbus, Ohio tonight and tomorrow night and then a whirlwind tour through the summer and first time they're doing it in a long time.

We'll be right back.



KING: We're back with Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.

Faith, is one of the hardest parts of the business picking material?

HILL: Oh, without a doubt. It all starts there. It starts with a song. And if you have that, then pretty much home free after that.

MCGRAW: Yes, absolutely.

HILL: It really does. And I'll tell you, Nashville, Tennessee, is one of the greatest places for the best songwriters in the world. And it's been fantastic to live there and to raise our family there. It's a great town. But it does start with a song. You're smart to know that.

KING: Is it true, Tim, that the bigger you get, the better the material you see?

MCGRAW: Well, you certainly get probably first shot at new songs that songwriters who are having success are writing. I mean, that's for sure; there's no doubt about that. And I like having the first shot at the best songs. Because it is, it is the most important part of what you do. I mean, you can sing until you're blue in the face, but if you don't have a great song, you know, and deliver it in a way that's honest to people, then it's not going to work.

HILL: I think the bars are higher, though, when you're more successful, to find things that are creatively -- for me, anyway -- creatively, you know, widen the boundaries and just...

MCGRAW: You want to keep challenging yourself.

HILL: You want to keep challenging yourself, yes. And it becomes more difficult to find something that will do that. And now I want to record all Coldplay songs.

KING: By the way...

MCGRAW: Well, you know...

KING: Go ahead, Tim.

MCGRAW: Well, you do get the first shot at the songs, but, you know, your taste changes. You don't want to record the same -- a lot of times songwriters will write stuff that you've already recorded, really, something that sounds like your last record.

And as artists, what we try to do is you try to, you know, challenge yourself, and expand what you're doing, and try to change, and do different kind of material. And as long as we've been doing this, that's the challenge for us, and that's what's fun for us, is doing things that are a little different, a little left-of-center, not typically what we -- certainly not what we did last time, you know, when you do a new album.

KING: Tim, have you finished the remake of "My Friend Flicka"?

MCGRAW: We finished it, yes. It's called "Flicka." I think it comes out in October, if I'm not mistaken. And I'm looking forward to it, yes.

In fact, speaking of songwriting, I'm not a songwriter, per se, but there's a song that I co-wrote with Tom Douglas, who's a great songwriter, and actually that's on the soundtrack for the movie. And it's sort of a theme song for the movie.

KING: It's not called "My Friend Flicka," just "Flicka"?

MCGRAW: Just "Flicka," yes.

KING: And she's a girl, not a boy, right?

MCGRAW: Yes, Alison Lohman plays my daughter in the movie, and I think from "White Oleander" and "Matchstick"...

HILL: And Maria Bello.

MCGRAW: And Maria Bello plays my wife in the movie. So it's a great cast. And I learned a lot. Michael Mayer directed it, and it was a great experience.

KING: Faith Hill, why don't you do films?

HILL: I've done one, and it was a very long process. I'm too busy staying in the hook-up line. I'm more comfortable in the hook-up line and talking to parents about, I don't know, whatever we talk about, whatever other moms...

MCGRAW: Brownies.

HILL: Brownies.

MCGRAW: Your Brownie meetings and softball games.

HILL: It just takes a lot of time, and, you know, honestly there's not been, since the last one I did, not been anything that's really interested me enough to spend the time doing it. I'm a home girl. I like to stay home, except for this summer.

KING: Is it true that the two of you have a pact not to be apart, Tim, more than three days?

MCGRAW: Yes, I mean, that's been pretty much -- we've talked about that before we ever got married, that that's kind of the way we wanted to live our lives. I mean, we never -- every now and then, a couple of times a year, I guess, a crazy week comes up where it's just really, really busy...

HILL: Yes.

MCGRAW: ... and it gets a little longer than that. But, in general, it's hardly ever anymore than that.

KING: Are you ever, Faith, competitive?

HILL: Yes.

KING: "My album's doing better than yours"?

HILL: Well, of course, but in a...

MCGRAW: You are?

HILL: Well, no, I mean, not in a bad way. I'm very competitive but in a very nice way. I mean, I'm not competitive enough to say, "Cut their legs off; I want to be the winner."

MCGRAW: No, he's talking about with me.

HILL: Oh, well, I am talking with you too.

KING: I'm talking about with him.


HILL: No, I'm absolutely not, in a bad way. I'm competitive in the way that I want him to actually be the winner and support -- I'd rather him come out on top than me come out on top. It really doesn't matter. It's not competitive in a bad way.

MCGRAW: Yes, it all goes to the same bank account, whether either of us get it.

KING: We'll be right back with...

HILL: Yes, yes.

KING: ... right back with Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. They're in Columbus, Ohio, starting the big "Soul 2 Soul II" tour. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. They're in Columbus, Ohio. I want to ask about that stage set-up in a minute.

Tim, are you going to run for office?

MCGRAW: Not anytime soon, not anytime soon. You know, politics have been always interesting to me. I'm from Louisiana, and Louisiana is pretty political, that state. You grow up knowing about politics down there. And there's just always been something -- history's something that's always been very fascinating to me, and I read a lot of history. And I just like politics. I like what they do.

And I'm not one of these people that's very cynical about it, either. I think that it's a very high calling. But as far as me ever running for office that is going to be something if it is ever a possibility, it will be way down the road after the kids are grown and stuff and after this music thing is done.

KING: Louisiana is pretty...


MCGRAW: Hopefully, I got a long time.

KING: Louisiana's got a wild history of politics, though.

MCGRAW: It does. It does, a very colorful history in Louisiana politics.

KING: Faith, concerning Katrina, is it true that you drove your tour bus with supplies to Mississippi? HILL: I did, with a lot of help from a lot of my friends around Nashville. And, I mean, there's so many people around the country and around the world who have literally gone down to Mississippi and Louisiana to help, not just give money, but to help. I mean, there's just hundreds and hundreds of people from around the world, and that just says a lot about the human spirit.

MCGRAW: There's a lot of ordinary citizens doing some great things.

HILL: Absolutely, a lot about communities coming together to help each other out.

KING: How did you react to that in your home state, Tim?

MCGRAW: Well, it was -- well, when we saw it coming, Faith and I saw it coming on TV, we knew it was going to be bad, like everybody else did. And this really hits you at home.

You know, I'm from northern Louisiana, but, you know, when you're from a state that's the state you stayed in -- I spent a lot of time in south Louisiana and have a lot of family from there -- you know, it's just gut-wrenching.

It's gut-wrenching to see people in that kind of position and to see something like that happen. And, you know, we just hope that things can get back to normal, as normal as normal can be for the people for a long time.

You know, the main thing is the kids, is the trauma that the children down there have been through. And, you know, the more normal things can get to, the better off the kids will be in the long run.

KING: Did your record of "Mississippi Girl," Faith, mean more to you after Katrina?

HILL: Yes, it did, in a way. I have always been proud of the state of Mississippi. If anyone who's ever traveled to Mississippi will realize quickly that some of the most generous, welcoming people live in that state, and everyone is there to help their neighbor.

So I have always been proud of my state. But after that happened and I had the single out, "Mississippi Girl," it's meaningful. It brings new meaning to it.

KING: Tim, when you -- do you come to expect the album to do well? I mean, is it a given that, because you're Tim McGraw, that "Reflected Volume 2" will be a hit?

MCGRAW: I don't know that it's ever -- I don't think it's ever a given. I mean, gosh, you can probably start naming names right off the head of people who had a lot of success and their next album didn't have success, so it's never a given. You always have to -- I just try to work hard at my music and make my music fresh and new and interesting to me. And as an artist, I don't think you can be a real artist if you're trying to cut records that satisfy a record label or cut records that satisfy a certain sector of people or satisfy radio programmers. I think, as an artist, you have to make records that satisfy you. And that's what I try to do.

And, you know, luckily, I guess my taste in the music that I do, a lot of people have had the same taste as I have, I guess. And one of these days, my taste and their taste won't be the same anymore, I guess.


But I can't not do the kind of music that I want to do.

KING: We'll take a break. When we come back, I'll ask Faith and then Tim: Are they good at predicting how well a particular song will do? And have they been -- have they had a song that they thought couldn't miss that missed?

We'll be right back.



MCGRAW: See now she's got me all flustered.

HILL: It didn't take me to screw your melody up. It's you, go on.


MCGRAW: There you go.

HILL: There you go.






KING: All right, Faith, how good are you at predicting how well or not well a song will do?

HILL: I don't think that way. I really honestly don't. I just have to fall in love with the material that I do and do it like I want to record it. And then I just cross my fingers and hope it works.

I'm still proud of what I've done, even if it hasn't been the biggest song on the radio, or hasn't gone to number one, or even the audience hasn't accepted it. I don't let things go unless I'm ready for them to go.

So I don't ever say, "That's going to be the one, I know it." As soon as you say that, it never happens. So I...



HILL: I don't ever say those things.

KING: Tim, how good are you at it?

HILL: He's brilliant at it, actually.


MCGRAW: But it's sort of the same answer that she has. There's been songs that I've recorded that I might not necessarily have thought was going to be a number-one smash but I thought would have huge impact on people.

A song, "Red Ragtop," for instance, comes to mind, "Drugs or Jesus," are songs that were singles that didn't go to number one. And some of them -- one of them didn't get in the top 10, but it was still a song that impacted people and people really liked. And so, to me, that's a success. That's a successful song.

HILL: That's right. Your audience gives you that information, like especially being on the stage and performing live. One of the songs that I had that was not a -- it was not a huge radio single, but it sold a lot of records is essentially the biggest song in my show, and it's a song called "Cry." And it was not a hit at radio, but it is a huge song in the live performance.

MCGRAW: Yes, I...

HILL: I guess you never know.

KING: Tell me about the performance. Now, how does it work? Do you sing a large part, then Faith sings a large part, then you sing together? Give me the modus operandi, Tim.

MCGRAW: Well, we can't -- you know, we don't want to give away everything on opening night. But, you know, it's different. It's a different kind of tour.

We were lucky enough to be able to build a huge stage and do the kind of thing that we wanted to do in order to make it incorporate both of us...

HILL: That's right.

MCGRAW: ... and to use both of our bands. And in order to do that, you have to have a lot of great people. You have to have a lot of great sponsors, Hershey's, for instance, who's a sponsor...

HILL: Hershey's, thank you. They're a great company.


MCGRAW: Great company.

HILL: So blessed to have them on board with us.

MCGRAW: And then you have to have a sit-down with a lot of people that you really trust in order to try to figure out a way to come up with a show that's not your typical show, like you just said, like somebody sings, somebody sings, somebody sings.

What we tried to do with this show is: The lights go off. And when the lights go off, the show starts. And then for two and a half, two hour or 45 minutes, there's one continuous show.

Now, we each sing our songs, of course, but there's a lot of things that go on. And we sing together, and it's just not a typical format of a show. It's one long, continuous show. And that is the way we want it to feel.

KING: No intermission?

MCGRAW: No intermission.

HILL: No intermission, no.

KING: It doesn't have...


MCGRAW: They even built a bathroom down below the stage.

HILL: Yes, truthfully, it's really actually fantastic. It looks like the inside of a yacht.

MCGRAW: Yes, it does.

HILL: It's amazing.

KING: It doesn't knock you out to do two and a half hours?

MCGRAW: No. I mean, it's -- I guess more than it used to. I mean, I did one tour a couple of years ago where it was just my band and I for three hours. And that was -- I don't think I'll ever do that again. Well, I won't say I could never do it again. If Springsteen can still do it, so maybe I -- I don't know if I can keep up with him or not. He's probably in better shape than I am.

But it's fun while you are up there. It wears you out, I guess, a little bit, but it's -- the being tired part doesn't counteract how much fun you have doing it.

HILL: Yes, energy.

KING: When I come back in our remaining moments, we'll ask you about the set, what part they played in designing it, and what happens when you move to different venues. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, a big night for them. In fact, a big night for me. I get to introduce them tonight.

HILL: Thank you, by the way.

KING: We are going to do a big country-western introduction. Before I ask you about the set...

HILL: Country.

KING: You have a comment on Kanye West's statement about George Bush not caring about black people?

MCGRAW: The only comment that I would have is that he has the right to say what he wants to say. This is a country that you can say that in, you know?

KING: Same thing about the Dixie Chicks, too?

MCGRAW: Absolutely. You know, our country is founded on those principles.

KING: OK, guys, did you design the set?

HILL: Yes, we did.


HILL: It was Tim's idea, the set-up for the stage. And brilliant stage designer Roy Bennett (ph) came in.

MCGRAW: Roy Bennett, yes.

HILL: And finished it off.

MCGRAW: Finished it off and polished. I mean, mine was very rudimentary. I mean, you know, we had an idea that -- you know, like I said, for years, we've been talking about how to do this and what we wanted to do, so we had sort of a general idea of what we wanted and drew it out.

But it took somebody who really knew what they were doing to come in and really make a great stage. And Roy is the guy who did that. He's incredible.

KING: Is it adaptable, Faith, no matter where you play?

HILL: Well, it's huge. It is a massive, massive stage. And it takes an enormous amount of -- I mean, 270 people to set it up.

MCGRAW: Well, 270. We have 120 people on the road with us, but 270...

HILL: One hundred and twenty two.

MCGRAW: One hundred and twenty two? Yes.

HILL: Yes.

MCGRAW: So, but 270...

KING: But, I mean, is it possible to be in an arena where it doesn't fit?

HILL: Yes, we've had that, actually. We've been -- there's been a couple that we've had to pull out of because the rigs were too heavy.

MCGRAW: They just wouldn't hold the weight, yes, from the lighting...


MCGRAW: Knoxville was one, for instance, that we couldn't play, because of the weight capacity.

KING: Have you ever on stage, Faith, forget what city you're in? Truth.

HILL: I've had that happen. Truthfully, I've had that happen before. It's very embarrassing. But hopefully that won't happen this time.

MCGRAW: It's gotten to the point now that you have it written on your set lists so you don't forget.

But it's going to be fun. We're very excited. It's going to be a great tour. I mean, the one good thing is my mother has a motor home, so my mother and my stepfather and my two sisters, Trace (ph) and Sarah (ph), they're going to be following us around in a motor home all summer, so that adds to the 14 buses we have. So have to add my mom's bus to it too because she is going to be following us.

And it's just a big family event. Everybody that works for us -- and there's some new guys on the crew this year, because the stage is so big, that we haven't gotten to know really well yet, but by the end of the tour we'll know them well.

And we like everything to feel like a big family out here. And, you know, we've all been together for a long time, Faith's management people and my management people and my band. And, you know, we play basketball everyday. We work out. We kind of hang out together, and everybody just has fun. And that's the way we like it.

The kids get to run around. And, you know, we've got a lot of -- you know, my kids grew up around my band and both of our management companies. So our kids run around, and there's never a place they're at where somebody hasn't gotten an eye on them. So we feel very safe and comfortable having them out here.

And we're just excited about it. It's fun. And I'm excited to be on stage and sing with my wife.

KING: You bet.

MCGRAW: I mean, to me, she's one of the best singers in the world. And to be up there on stage and to be able to sing with somebody with that caliber of talent and then to be able to go home with them at night, I mean, it's hard to beat.

HILL: It's not so bad going home with you, either, baby.

KING: You ever travel by plane, Faith?

HILL: Yes, we do.


HILL: Yes, we do. We do both. It's a lot easier, actually, on a bus, just because...

MCGRAW: Well, you can sleep.

HILL: We can sleep easier. And the kids love it. We set the bus up specifically for the children. They're all at the age where they're very independent now, and they can get their own breakfast, and that sort of thing. So everything has to be in their reach.

But we do both. We fly and we do bus.

MCGRAW: We do both. Yes, especially when school's going on, there will be more flying, because we'll be flying into shows that we have to wait until they get out of school on Friday and then leave and go to the show Friday night.

KING: You are two terrific people. It's been great having you with us, and I'll be honored to introduce you tonight or tomorrow night and look forward to seeing you back in Beverly Hills.

MCGRAW: Thank you, Larry. Good talking to you.

HILL: Thank you, Larry. Great to see you.

MCGRAW: Say hi to the family.

KING: Sure will. You, too.

HILL: Yes, bye.

KING: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, country music's reigning first couple. The tour, the "Soul 2 Soul II" tour kicks off tonight. And that's going to be a massive event.

And "ANDERSON COOPER 360" is next.