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Tim McGraw is a reformed man

The country star releases his new album this week


Country star Tim McGraw, whose new album “Two Lanes of Freedom” arrives on Tuesday, apparently has traded throwing back whiskey shots to shooting hoops and pumping iron, telling People magazine in a recent interview that he gave up alcohol about five years ago in part for the benefit of his children.

“I drank a lot and I needed to stop,” he tells the magazine in its Feb. 11 issue. “People were worried about me.... I felt quitting was something I needed to do. I didn’t feel I had any moral high ground with my kids in the long run.” He also said that working out before shows, rather than drinking, “is a great way to go out on stage.” “Two Lanes of Freedom” is his first under his new record contract with Big Machine Records, best known as the home of Taylor Swift, after years with Curb Records, with whom McGraw had a stormy relationship. (He once publicly disavowed a hits compilation the label issued because it had already released two previous hits packages.) Of the label change, he told the Nashville Tennessean recently, “I think knowing what I’m going to be able to do after I record the music, knowing where I’m headed after the music and how I want to present my music, all those are the things that give me a sense of freedom, and the things I look forward to.” McGraw also is planning to embark on a tour this spring. He last played Southern California last summer on his “Brothers of the Sun” co-headlining tour with Kenny Chesney, which stopped at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.