First Cut: Tim McGraw’s “Portland, Maine” by songwriters Donovan Woods and Abe Stoklasa

Can we just go ahead and agree that when men are vulnerable in songs it’s absolutely phenomenal? “Portland, Maine,” is one such standout, written by Abe Stoklasa and Donovan Woods and recorded by Tim McGraw on his most recent album, Sundown Heaven Town, a song that Billboard suggested could be in the running for 2015 CMA single of the year. McGraw is a master at picking moments to be vulnerable, and recording this song is no exception.

The song itself is a perfect example of just how stellar those moments can be. “Portland, Maine” focuses on a man that’s ending a relationship because the woman is moving away and the pain of breaking up seems the smarter choice. “I don’t want to be talking on the phone every night / Six PM, which timezone, yours or mine?” starts the track. It’s not without complexity; “I won’t pretend I don’t want these things,” acknowledges the internal struggle of balancing two negatives and frustrating odds.

However. While Tim McGraw nails the delivery, there’s something special about hearing a songwriter deliver their own lines, and Woods’ soft, whispery voice reveals the hurt behind the brave-faced decisions beautifully.

Learn more about Woods and his gorgeous songs here.

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