Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

DOWNLOAD NOW! “Please Come Home For Christmas” Single Benefits Charity

admin | December 15, 2012 in Music | Comments (1)


In the spirit of the holiday, I share my version of this holiday classic in support of the Tug McGraw Foundation and its mission to improve the quality of life for those confronting brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, and post-traumatic stress.

Available now on both iTunes and CDBaby, a portion of the proceeds from this single will benefit programs for the Tug McGraw Foundation, the nonprofit founded by Philadelphia Phillies pitching legend Tug McGraw. I first came to serve this organization through my friendship with Tug’s son, country superstar Tim McGraw, with whom, as keyboardist and vocalist, I have both toured and recorded such hits as “Live Like You Were Dying,” “Real Good Man,” and “She’s My Kind of Rain.”

As I continue my musical journey, both pursuing individual projects and most recently completing a concert tour with “American Idol” finalist Josh Gracin, I am proud to still serve the Tug McGraw Foundation as board chair and director of the Team McGraw endurance fundraising program…and I am happy to share this with all of you.

Embrace the season, thank you for sharing…and Merry Christmas.

Jeff McMahon signature

Leap Day: My Launch into 2012

admin | February 29, 2012 in Endurance,Music,Running,WordSmatter | Comments (9)

LEAP DAY: the one extra day we are given every four years so the world can catch up on itself.  Typically, Earth has 365 days to make her yearly journey around the sun; even so, we snag an extra day every fourth year so the world can make her way around…and we can reset the clock.

February 29th is a day we rarely see, so it seems I should make the most of it – use it to its fullest – and get some of these random things circling my world back under control.

If only I knew what some of these random things actually were.

Now, we’ve all heard it: “Look before you leap.”  Normally, I’d agree.  (Those that know me well are laughing; “Yes, he would.”)  It makes sense to check the course and scout out the unknowns ahead, before launching off in the wrong direction and ringing a bell you can’t, well, un-ring.

That being said, things are a bit foggy around here.  It’s hard to see what’s around the corner, and though I’d like to know a bit more about what’s in front of me before launching off…I’m tired of waiting.

So, I’m just gonna have to get good with not knowing.  Pieces of what’s ahead, I’m sure I’ll recognize.  Adventures peppered with big chunks of “I didn’t see that coming!” and “Wow! Who knew?” may well catch us all by surprise, but it’s time to get these feet churning.

Okay.  Here…we…GO!

(“The only man who makes no mistakes is the man who never does anything.” U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt)

Carry On: A Reflection on 9/11

admin | September 11, 2011 in Music,WordSmatter | Comments (10)

On September 11, 2001, I was preparing to fly to New York for a television performance with country superstar Tim McGraw and his band, the Dancehall Doctors; that appearance was cancelled as a result of the attacks on the World Trade Center Towers – what we now have come to refer to simply as “9/11.”

In 2002, I did travel to New York City for that postponed performance with McGraw. While there, a collection of his band and crew went to “Ground Zero,” the site of the tragedy, to gain some personal perspective on the events that had changed the nation so dramatically just one year earlier.

In recognition of the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, I share my personal account of that experience as it was originally published in the “From the Road” column of Tim McGraw’s official website in 2002.


With so many looking back on the past year and the effects of the events in New York City, I thought it perhaps appropriate to include some of our experiences as we visited Ground Zero earlier this year. At the time of the attack, the DHDs (Dancehall Doctors) were preparing to leave for New York for a television appearance which was subsequently cancelled. All of the DHDs were in Nashville at the time, with the exception of Denny Hemingson, who was in Boston.

“I was on vacation in Boston with my wife,” said Denny. “We were supposed to fly home to Nashville from Boston on September 11. We were packing in the hotel, watching the news, preparing for our flight on American Airlines. We were ready to head to the airport, and we saw the planes fly into the towers on television. I knew when the second plane hit that this was some kind terrorist thing or something. At that point, everyone was calling my cell phone to see if we were still alive. We stayed an extra day, scrambled around and found a rental car, and drove home to Nashville from there. Everyone around us was trying to get home, but it wasn’t like they were headed home to take care of business.”

Denny continued. “That day…how quiet. Boston was so…quiet. We went to a store and they had grounded all the planes…just military jets in the air. Nothing else. Cops checking buildings out everywhere…but other than that, the streets were empty.”

Tim and the DHDs did later make a trip to New York for a rescheduled performance months later. While in the city, the DHDs made the journey to Ground Zero. We wanted to see for ourselves the impact on the geographical and emotional landscapes of New York City and the world.

Taking the subway, we were immediately struck by the amount of people that were NOT on our train. Only a few locals shared our train with us; instead of being caught up in the bustle of New York City life, we essentially had the car to ourselves. In the past, the trains running to the financial district were always busy.

But not this time. Now things were much quieter. We could not help but reflect upon what had caused this shift in the lives of so many.

We arrived at our stop and made our way to Ground Zero. Much of the area was barricaded and zoned to protect citizens from intruding upon the cleanup efforts. We were led along wooden walkways toward a viewing platform, and we could not help but notice the messages and drawings that others had left along the walls, chronicling their love and support for those lost.

From the platform, the cleanup and construction was in full view. We could better understand the expansive nature of the event, seeing for ourselves how big the void was. It also became much clearer how this could affect so much in the surrounding area.

“Man, we could have been there,” said DHD Dave Dunkley. ” We were flying in for ‘The Rosie O’Donnell Show’ the next day. We would have been only a few blocks away.”

“When you looked across the area where the buildings had been, the reality was so much bigger than I expected,” shared DHD Denny Hemingson. “But even more amazing to me was the impact some blocks away. There was a clothing store that, months later, still had clothes in it covered with a thick layer of dust. They had just put a sheet of plexiglass over them and left them. As much as I had seen on television, I understood even more how immense this really was.”

Some of our boys had visited the Trade Center towers in earlier years, long before the attacks.  “In 1977, I participated in a ‘Battle of the Bands’ on the roof of the Trade Towers,” said DHD John Marcus. “Our rock band at the time performed on the helipad overlooking the city…and now it looks like a parking lot. I was particularly saddened as I remembered looking over New York City from the roof…and now it’s gone.”

Adjacent to the cleanup site was St. Paul’s Chapel. Built in 1766, this church miraculously escaped damage on September 11, while many of the surrounding buildings suffered significantly. For the following eight months, this church would be instrumental in supporting the crews and workers of the relief efforts.

The fence and surrounding walls of the chapel had become a home for the tributes and memories for all of those left to suffer as a result of this tragedy. In contrast to the actual clearing and construction, the gifts and notes left here brought home the passion and love inspired by this event. Photographs, banners, flowers, a child’s doll…all of these decorated the sidewalks. Messages and poetry adorned the walls from all different countries and in all different languages.

“What really got me was realizing the magnitude of how many people were really involved in what happened,” said DHD Darran Smith. “When I looked at the site, I saw the trucks, the machinery, the construction. I didn’t think about the people. But when you look at the wall…it was…wow.”

For everything we witnessed on that day, one moment stood out for many of us. While we filed along the walkway of the viewing platform, we saw two local firefighters standing along the barricade. Just watching. They had their backs to us, and we couldn’t even see their faces. We didn’t have to.

Our drum tech, Joey Supak, caught this poignant moment on camera and told us the story. “I didn’t know who they were. I just grabbed the shot. I just thought it was so amazing to see how intent they were on what had happened.”

Later in the day, Joey spoke with the two men. “They told me that they came there every day. A lot of guys they knew had gone into those buildings. They came every day to just watch and remember…kind of a tribute to their friends that had perished when the towers came down.”

DHD Darran Smith also took notice. “Those two firefighters looking over the site…by themselves…that really got me…gave me chills,” he remembered. “It makes you realize that all that stuff you hear about ‘the brotherhood’…I mean, who knows how personally they were involved in the tragedy?  But you could see the loss…just watching them.”

As we approach the anniversary of last September’s tragic attacks, we recall those happenings and how they have affected each of us. In some ways, we have moved on from the tragedy of that day. In other ways, we should never let go of what those events have taught us to treasure.

I am glad that we have come to celebrate our firefighters, policemen, and emergency workers. American flags are still flying, not because of a holiday, but because of the inspiration to express our patriotism. There is a greater respect for the military that serve this country. We have a greater appreciation for those we love and a greater understanding of what is important.

These are things to celebrate, and as we remember those that still suffer from the events of that day, my hope is that we continue to celebrate them.

Nobody ever said that life was gonna be fair

You’re never gonna get nowhere by running scared

If you look down deep inside you’ll find the faith to make you strong

Carry on

(From the song “Carry On,” written by Mark Collie, Even Stevens, and Hillary Kanter, and recorded by Tim McGraw)

Runners Save With “Rock ‘n’ Roll”

admin | May 31, 2011 in Endurance,Music,Running | Comments (3)

Those of us that know the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathons and half marathons, we understand the excitement of sharing a great day of running with thousands of others, hearts beating in unison with pounding feet, all to the rhythm of the thumpin’ band around the next corner.

In honor of National Running Day on Wednesday, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series is offering a one-day registration discount. In addition to great savings on their events, all those registering on June 1 will also receive 5 FREE music downloads…so they can rock to their favorite music along the course.

(Click here for complete details from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series website.)

They are all great, fun races; in fact, I plan on snagging my first Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego medal this weekend. So check your calendars, pick your favorites, and sign up tomorrow!

As for those 5 FREE downloads, I suggest perhaps your five favorite songs from Tim McGraw’s Southern Voice album. As both a runner and McGraw’s longtime keyboardist, I know it’s great music for a Rock ‘n’ Roll marathoner.

Then again…maybe I’m a bit biased.

The Make-Believe Me

admin | November 28, 2010 in Music,Running,WordSmatter | Comments (11)

Okay, here’s the deal…

If you’ve heard from me recently, it might not have been me.  If you reached out, someone else may have answered you…or ignored you.

Facebookers, you may have even poked someone you don’t even know. Seriously.  Ew.

There are fake MySpace pages, fake Facebook pages, fake websites, fake email addresses.  Phony “Road Dog Runners,” pretend “Pianomen,” and other mock “McMen” offering running insights and telling road stories.

Oh, sure.  They all look like me.  Same hair, same interests, same gigs.  We are all runners and we all wander the country leaving both musical and uh, marathonical footprints.  They all send out “add a friend” notices and answer questions as me.

These irritating Facebook frauds do work hard at their silly little games. Honestly, these screwballs spend more time PRETENDING to be me than I have to ACTUALLY be me.

Don’t ask.  I don’t know why.  But at least for a good while, I got kicked out of Facebook for being a phonybecause a phony reported that I had built a fake page and was pretending to be the real me when it was really the fake me that was reporting the real me for Facebook fakery.

Whew.  I know…right?

It all blew up while I was traveling the world with a busted laptop, so I wasn’t online, wasn’t watching, and hadn’t a clue.  Some of you would text-message-comment-call me later to say “Dude, is this you?” It probably wasn’t, so thanks for the heads-up.

I wonder.  Do folks still use carrier pigeons?

Maybe I should try that.


admin | September 20, 2010 in Music,WordSmatter | Comments (4)

Fair season. Winter is done. Spring is here, and summer is starting to peek around the corner.

With fair season…comes fair food. We’ve played a lot of fairs and festivals over the years, and we’ve seen some weirdness when it comes to culinary carnival contributions. Some even teeter on scary.

Oh, there’s deep-fried Snickers and deep-fried bananas and deep-fried Twinkies. Beef kabobs and turkey kabobs and “I’m not sure but it must be some kind of meat” kabobs. I’ve heard about deep-fried Coca-Cola, (I’m not sure how that works), and at this year’s Minnesota State Fair, I saw cheerful vendors serving up spaghetti and meatballs…ON A STICK!

So when we headed down to the southern edge of Texas to perform at Borderfest in Hidalgo last spring, the Dippin’ Dots ice cream stand in the lobby of the arena didn’t really seem suspect…until I looked a bit closer at the sign.

“Ice Cream of the FUTUTE?” Ew…that just sounds bad. Not even a handmade sign, but factory issue and mass-produced. I ran the words through Microsoft Word, Spellcheck, and looked it up in the dictionary on my laptop. Nope. “Futute” was nowhere to be found.

I thought about ordering some. What flavors might they have? Ganilla? Slawberry? Rocky Toad? Hey…wait a minute.

It occurred to me that Borderfest 2010 was celebrating the culture of Australia with this year’s festival. Outback Steakhouse is the current sponsor of the “Southern Voice” tour, and as I write this, I sit in my hotel room in Sydney, Australia; we perform here tonight for the very first time.

Of course. “One CROC-olate, please.” Yum.

Marathon Walk

admin | September 17, 2010 in Endurance,Music,NYC Marathon 2010,Running | Comments (2)

We are roughly a month into the “Southern Voice” tour; Tim and the boys have found our groove after the first series of concert dates, and fans are rockin’ the house with us every night. It is good to be back in musical motion.

We’ve rolled through Nashville, home, for only a day, and then it’s right back to the airport.  We are headed to Mr. Sinatra’s “city that never sleeps” – yeppers, New York City – for our March 3 morning performance on Good Morning America. They’re some good folks over there, and we haven’t wandered through their doors since the Let It Go album came out three years ago.

Now host Robin Roberts did catch our show when working on a 2009 TV special with McGraw.  She ran us down in Pittsburgh last September; we were there to kick off the opening of the NFL season, and we also shared one of our last-minute “Bread and Water” charity gigs with her there, so hugs have been swapped and laught have been had.  Even so, it is great to be back in the city to perform and see the rest of the GMA bunch!

Of course, for ME – after running the New York City Marathon in 2007 and 2008, coaching our Team McGraw runners through the 2009 race, and now training for my own 2010 run on November 7 – being in “The City” really has become all about the New York City Marathon.  I just can’t be there anymore without reflecting on the excitement of streets swollen with runners and the anticipation of one of the greatest races in the world.

Our plane touches down, and it’s straight to the hotel.  The boys head out to snag lunch. I snag my runnin’ shoes instead – destination, Central Park.  The NYC Marathon course famously winds through all five boroughs, but it is in Central Park where thousands of spectators cheer on exhausted runners through the last mile of their way to the finish line.

A quick chat with our hotel concierge confirms; “out the door, take a left, then another left and keep going until you hit the park.  You can’t miss it.”  I hit the sidewalk and immediately begin my constant negotiation with the world in perpetual motion.

“Go, no, wait, no…are you gonna go?” The signal flashes “Don’t walk.”  Honk.  “Dude, you’re in the middle of the…never mind.  Sorry ma’am.”  That is my foot, you know.  Hi.  “No, I…hi.  Pardon.  Yeah, is Central Park that…?  Thanks.”  Woah.  That was close.  Seriously?  Am I the only person in New York City going the other way?  What do they know that I don’t?

Am I going to make my way there only to find out that Wally World is closed for the season?  “Sorry, folks…parks closed.”

There it is; I made it.  Central Park.  Walkers and runners and horse-drawn carriages and street vendors and chalk artists and amateur photographers.  It isn’t where it all happens; it is where a lot happens.

But for a marathoner, after all the training and struggle and planning and work and anticipation…Central Park is where it all comes together in a hail of celebration, determination and resolve.

March 3, 2010: McMahon (second from left) is pictured with his band mates Deano (left) and Billy (right) at the news desk for GOOD MORNING AMERICA with host George Stephanopoulos.

I make a few circles through the park for a total of three miles; it’s all I’ve got time for, but it’s enough.  I’ve gotten my taste, logged my miles, and now it’s back to the hotel and to the music business at hand.  Our new single, “Still,” sails out to radio this week, and tomorrow morning, on Good Morning America, we will perform it on television for the first time…and for the rest of the world.

I glance up and catch a street sign on my way back to the hotel: “Marathon Walk.”

I can’t wait for November.

TV Tonight: “Country’s Night to Rock!”

admin | September 1, 2010 in Music | Comments (8)

I still have trouble with that – “The CMA Music Festival.”  Ever since I moved to Nashville back in ’91, I’ve always thought of this annual event as most locals still do…as “Fan Fair.”

Friends from all corners of the world converge on Nashville for this celebration of country music.  Fan clubs are in full force for artists, big and small, beating their drums and waving their flags for their favorites.  Homemade T-shirts, stenciled banners, and jean jackets weighed down by pounds of buttons are everywhere pronouncing love for Dolly or Alan or Conway or Martina.

Or Tim.  There are lots of “I ‘Heart’ Tim” buttons.  Maybe even an “I ‘Heart’ the DHDs!” button or two.

It was great to be a part of this year’s country music extravaganza; we’ve been touring heavily in recent years, so we haven’t always gotten to share in the fun…so it was really great to make it back for it in the midst of the “Southern Voice” tour.

If you missed out on the fun this past June, tonight’s ABC special titled “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock,” will take you back through many of the exciting performances we shared with our musical friends at LP Field in Nashville in 2010.  The show is set to air at 7PM/CST with Mr. McGraw at the helm…

…and you just might catch a glimpse of one of those DHD buttons…so watch closely!

Visit the CMA Fest website for more details on tonight’s special.


admin | June 19, 2010 in Endurance,Music,Running | Comments (4)

“The winner of two tickets to tonight’s Tim McGraw concert is Jane Adams. JANE…ADAMS. Please return to the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego registration table immediately.”

The words echo through the convention hall for a second and third time.  There is so much going on, people hawking their running wares along the winding aisles of booths, running superstars sharing their stories over microphones in the corners of the room, announcement after announcment floating through the air and stumbling over one another.

I understand; it is hard to hear…but I’m getting nervous.

I’ve been at the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon expo for almost two hours, and I’ve got to get, well, rolling.  As part of Tim McGraw’s band, the Dancehall Doctors, I have a rehearsal and soundcheck scheduled before the evening show…and my ride to the concert site is standing by.

Come on, Jane.  Hear your name.  We’ve got to…HERE she is!  The marathoner from Riverside, California finally appears, flanked by her daughter and son-in-law, Heather and Larry Stone, to learn she is the winner of two tickets to the Tim McGraw show in San Diego!

WAHOO! Uh-oh.  Ew.  Two tickets.  Three folks.  What a good mom; she passes the tickets on to the other two…and they are ecstatic!  Now they have to figure out what to do about the party they are set to attend that evening for HIS mother; can they do it ALL?

“What time does the show start?” they ask.

The show starts around 7PM; the tickets will be at the will call window for pickup.  I go on to explain that they are also invited to what we call our “pre-show” before the concert – a small acoustic “show before the show” for a select few.  A representative for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathons will be there to greet and escort them into this VIP event – IF they would like to attend.

They will be up closer and personal, just a stone’s throw from Mr. McGraw and the band, if they would like to go. (Get it?  A stone’s throw? Heather and Larry STONE? I do kill me sometimes.)  The two of them can hardly contain themselves, and they answer in unison…“Uh…YEAH!”

Can I say it?  Dare I?  I guess I have to. Tonight…I’m ro-ckin’ with the Stones.

Meeting Olympic medalist Meb Keflezighi is a real treat. He won the ING New York City Marathon in 2009. I'm running it in 2010; I'm setting the bar lower.

The arrangements are made and I head off through the expo to find my buddy that is driving me back to the gig.  On the way, I stop by to holler at my pal and running writer John “The Penguin” Bingham who is giving a talk about completing the marathon.  He’s become a good friend in recent years, and I never miss a chance to say hello, even if it is for a hurried drive-by of a hug…which THIS time, it is.

I cross paths with a couple of Olympians on the way out as well.  Deena Kastor, I’ve met before in Chicago.  A joy of a young lady, she is an Olympic bronze medalist and holds a number of American records, including the women’s marathon.  I won’t say I know her, but from what I can see from here, she’s a great gal.

I also meet Meb Keflezighi for the first time.  In 2004, Meb surprised everyone when he carried home the silver medal for the marathon at the Olympics, and in 2009 he was the first American to win the ING New York City Marathon in over 27 years.  Really cool to meet him; inspiring dude.

We snap a couple of shots before I’m dragged away by my ride back to the gig.  Right, right.  Today I’m a musician first, a runner second…and we’ve got a concert to do.

The start of the 2010 Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon and Half Marathon.

The Stones make it to the show that Friday night and have a great time.  I give them a call a week later to see how Sunday’s race went.  Larry’s results I have found online, but Heather’s are not there initially due to a computer glitch. I’m told that both had a great run, completing the half marathon in just over two hours, side-by-side.

And what about Jane who actually won the tickets?  While the kids are taking on the half marathon…she runs the FULL 26.2 miles to earn her own marathon medal at the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego.

Run, Jane, run.

Win Two Tickets to See Tim McGraw Tonight in San Diego!

admin | June 4, 2010 in Endurance,Music,Running | Comments (1)

I’ve never run the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon. I’ve run other Rock ‘n’ Rolls as coach and runner with Team McGraw: Nashville, San Jose, Philly, Arizona, San Antonio. San Diego has just never worked out.

This year was close, though. I’m rolling through San Diego with the Tim McGraw “Southern Voice” tour tonight, June 4, for one night only. The marathon is…DANG! Sunday, June 6. SO close.

At least I can drop by the marathon expo before the show – check out the runners, feel the excitement, and breath in a little marathon spirit from my runnin’ brothers and sisters. Calm my restlessness just a little. Stifle the sadness of a great race missed.

So I’ll be there from 11:30AM – 12:30PM. Come find me, say hello, and register for the 2011 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego and you will be automatically entered into a chance to win two tickets courtesy of the Tug McGraw Foundation to see Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors in concert later that night at the Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre. The award-winning group Lady Antebellum will also perform along with the group Love and Theft.

The winners must be present at the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon Expo and will be notified at 12:45PM.

Come showtime, I’ll be behind the keyboards, manning a mike, shod in cowboy boots instead of running shoes for the evening…but running shoes are welcome.

See you at the show…and have a great run!