Byron Gallimore speaks about his lengthy role as a producer for Tim McGraw and his work with Faith Hill, Jo Dee Messina, Sugarland, and Lee Ann Womack during this interview at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, held on January 27, 2018. He also explains how Charley Pride and James Stroud shaped his career.
Gallimore goes back to his childhood in Puryear, Tennessee, where he grew up in a musical family of siblings and cousins, with significant encouragement from his father. He started playing in bands at age twelve, then joined a horn band at fourteen (as a bassist) and learned the pop standards.
Because he couldn’t get any friends interested in songwriting, Gallimore decided to pursue it alone. In 1980, he won first place in the Music City Song Festival, bringing him closer to success in Nashville. However, until he was thirty-five years old, Gallimore maintained a farming career while performing in the bar band Commonwealth on the weekends.
Through some of his early demo work as a songwriter and singer, Byron Gallimore attracted the ear of Charley Pride and his wife, Rozene, who brought him on as a staff songwriter. Within a few years, Gallimore accepted an offer to run the Prides’ publishing company.
Gallimore explains how cutting a few sides song plugger Bobby Boyd’s brother led to meeting with Tim McGraw’s managers. After watching McGraw perform at a bar in downtown Nashville, Gallimore could see the potential. In turn, McGraw fought for Gallimore as a co-producer alongside James Stroud, a successful Nashville producer Gallimore counts as a personal hero.
Over the course of the interview, Byron Gallimore speaks about the unexpected success of Tim McGraw’s “Indian Outlaw,” how he found McGraw’s first No. 1 hit, “Don’t Take the Girl,” the string arrangements on some of McGraw’s biggest hits, and how Billy Sherrill’s production style shaped his own approach in the studio.
Asked about his partnership with McGraw, Gallimore says that the country superstar possesses “an incredible sense of who he is, and what he wants to do.”
Gallimore also talks about production credits with Faith Hill, Lori McKenna, Jo Dee Messina, John Michael Montgomery, Sugarland, Randy Travis, and Phil Vassar. Sound clips including Tim McGraw’s “I Like It, I Love It,” Faith Hill’s “Breathe,” Sugarland’s “Stay,” and Lee Ann Womack’s “I May Hate Myself in the Morning” are played for the crowd.
At the end of the event, Gallimore’s wife, Missi Gallimore, asks him to tell an emotional anecdote about being reunited with a bass his father had once bought for him.
Presented in support of the Museum exhibition “Tim McGraw & Faith Hill: Mississippi Woman, Louisiana Man” (open November 17, 2017, through June 10, 2018).
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