NYC Marathon Cancelled Due to Broken Coach

admin | November 29, 2010 in Endurance,NYC Marathon 2010,Running | Comments (6)

Coach Kevin (right) and I search through the dense field of runners for approaching Team McGraw jerseys...or anybody else seemingly in trouble.

“I’m in the hospital,” said Kevin, the national coach for Team McGraw.  “My foot’s all screwed up.  We are waiting on test results, but I’m still planning to make it to New York.”

Ouch.  That wasn’t part of our plan.  I was set to run the 2010 New York City Marathon in November with Team McGraw.  Training had gone pretty well, though touring Australia with Mr. McGraw through the fall did make training a bit challenging.  Still, things were pretty on track.

Meanwhile, Coach Kevin Leathers has had the St. Jude Memphis Marathon in December on his radar all year.  He runs crazy fast.  Painful fast.  Qualify for the Boston Marathon fast.  I’m not there; that’s why he’s “Coach Kevin.”  His plan was to set a PR (personal record) in Memphis.

We are both runners.  We love getting out there.  But it is so much more important for us to be available to our runners, our team, those that have trained so hard in dedication to the fight against brain tumors and traumatic brain injury.

Coach Kevin gives some final pointers to our runners after their easy warmup run the morning before the marathon.

If we are out there as runners, we aren’t really available during the race to advise, offer injury assistance, or generally just “attaboy” the folks.  Things can get dark in the toughest of moments in the marathon, and we want to help our folks make it through the tougher spots.  And we’re both runners, so we know…even a well-placed smile along a grueling race course can make all the difference.

The path was clear; I would not be running New York this year.

Fortunately, our resilient – (some say hard-headed) – Coach Kevin did make it out of the hospital just in time to catch his flight.  He wouldn’t be running, or even really mobile, but he was gonna be there.  Foot bound in a protective boot.  Crutches in hand.

Luggage…that’s my job.  You keep up with the crutches, pal. Sit down.  SIT DOWN.  I’ve got it.  You wanna help?  Sure.  Carry my cell phone and hush; you are on “injured reserve.”

Coach Kevin and I spent the weekend of the ING New York City Marathon on the sidelines – in truth, a much more gratifying place to be.  We were there to see each of our runnin’ brothers and sisters smile, warm up, fret, pose, stretch, start, sail, breathe, relax, laugh, hurt, fret, strain, worry, walk, frown, run, grimace, persist, growl, endure…and finish.  Awesome.

Not once did I regret choosing not to run.  But Coach Kevin, he had no intentions of letting me off the hook completely.

”Uh…yeah, Coach?  You wanted to talk to me?”

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.

RACE REPORT: Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon 2009

admin | September 18, 2010 in Endurance,Race Report,Running | Comments (7)

Well, that’s what they call it now. Last year, it was still the “Philadelphia Distance Run,” though we runners all still knew that Philly was part of the “Rock ‘n’ Roll” family, just like the Country Music Marathon held each spring in Nashville, Tennessee.

This year, it’s official; Philadelphia is now home to the “Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon.”

Still the same race. Still the same spirit. The same outstanding organizers, the same historic course through America’s past, the same music carrying runners through both the breeze of the easy and the grit of the difficult.

Okay…I’m making this worse. See, I can’t be there. And I wanna be. I’m currently on the other side of the world in Australia, a day ahead; in fact, as I write this, I’m well into my SUNDAY. The runners that will take on the run in Philadelphia, they are still loading up on pasta, checking their gear, and spending their SATURDAY getting ready for SUNDAY’S race.

I plan to pull up the live webcast online and watch the finish of Sunday morning’s race…but I’ll miss the first part, as we’ll be onstage finishing our evening show as they finish. Yeah…it makes my head hurt a bit; it’s hard to keep it straight. Bottom line – I’m way to far away to run the race with my Team McGraw peeps…but I’ll be cheerin’ ‘em on from “Down Under.”

As Team McGraw returns to the “City of Brotherly Love,” I can’t help but reflect on last year’s half marathon. Taking Team McGraw to Philadelphia, home of the Philadelphia Phillies, with whom our namesake Tug McGraw won the World Series back in 1980…yeah, it calls up some pretty impassioned memories of Tug’s impact on the city.

Tug is still remembered…and still loved.

David Bier after his first half marathon finish. (Cue the music from "Charlie's Angels.")

But there was a lot more “special” from the 2009 race for me. Certainly at the top of the list was seeing my friend David Bier complete the course with his wife and Team McGraw repeater Diane. David is a brain tumor survivor…and a diehard Doors fan. He’s supported our runners through many races, but 2009 was his first half marathon as a runner; I relish each time I’ve gotten to witness these amazing feats of accomplishment in the face of adversity, and he did a great job.

And when I say “diehard Doors fan,” I mean it. The next time I see him, I’ll hear it. “So, have you learned the organ part to ‘Light My Fire’ yet?” Light my fire. No, I’ve not learned it. But you’ve done it, Dave…and done it again and again. Relit my fire for our cause. My fire for this program. For our runners. Thanks.

Genvieve could hardly contain herself in front of the paparazzi as Mark McGraw joined her for part of the race.

Team McGraw’s Genvieve Goldstein set aside some of her duties as a leader of our program and took the streets herself in 2009. If you’ve run with us before, or are on the way to some upcoming marathon with us, you know Genvieve. She knows how hard our folks work, how deep our athletes dig, on their way to the finish line…and she wanted to show ‘em she’d dig along with them.

Dig she did. Attagirl!

Gang signs? Uh, no. "45." Tug McGraw's baseball jersey number.

I’m remembering the gathering of our team and early morning hugs at the tent on race day. The gun and the laughter and the cheers of the start. “Rocky”-dressed runners, rock bands set up on trailers, and the full-blown orchestra set up on the corner that threatens to squash my time by making me stop and listen even longer.

Oh, yeah. The “Rocky” runners remind me. You WILL hear the theme from Rocky more than a few times along the way. Rocky is Philly’s favorite “not even a real person but if he were he’d be our favorite” son. And no matter how much it hurts after the race, you’ve GOTTA go run the steps from the movie at the art museum from the movie before leaving the city.

You guys are gonna have a great race; I know I did. I ran most of the race last year with Tim McGraw’s brother, Mark, and Tom Karpowich. Mark is a great runner and his “easy run” was still pulling Tom and I to better times. We stuck together until the last few miles; he and Tom ran away from me after Tom’s goal of hitting two hours…and I finished with my best time to that point of 2:07:55 for the half marathon.

Mark McGraw (left) and I reconnected at the Team McGraw tent before heading back in after the rest of our team.

After crossing the finish line, we all made our way through the medal and water and bagel and banana lines to get back out on the course to cheer on the rest of our team. That’s the best part of these races: THE TEAM.

It is worth noting for future storytelling…that the 2009 Philadelphia Distance Run was my third “Rock ‘n’ Roll” event of 2009, following January’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona and the April Country Music Half Marathon. I mentioned before my 2009 “quest for immortality.” At this point in the story, it was still a silent and solitary crusade. As concert touring season began for the summer, my quest would have to be set aside for a few months.

The spirit of that crusade would remain, the quiet pursuit of a prize that only I would ever fully appreciate.

At least…that was the plan…

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!

National Running Day 2010

admin | June 2, 2010 in Endurance,Running | Comments (3)

I’m a runner; it says so on my business card.

Okay, not yet.  But it will when I get new cards made.  Think about it.  You are reading this in my blog titled “Road Dog Runner.”  And June 2 is National Running Day…so you can believe I was feelin’ a lit-tle pressure to deliver on the day.

Something really cool.  NOT gonna happen.  Three days with a busier than normal tour schedule had left me with enough unread email to choke a horse…assuming horses ate email.  I had phone calls to return, new tunes to learn for our upcoming Nashville Rising flood relief concert, and photographs to edit.

I hit the ground running, so to speak, eating breakfast with one hand and typing away on my laptop with the other…and I didn’t stop but for a quick three-miler before tonight’s show.

I almost felt like I’d missed our runners’ day of days.

As I reflect back on the day, though, I realize that my first phone call was to my father – my first runnin’ buddy.  My emails varied from Team McGraw runners looking for coaching advice to newbies looking to join our program in pursuit of their first marathon.  I got Facebooked by a friend that had faded away for many years…only to resurface with a pair of running shoes, a personal trainer’s credentials, and a couple of running friends in tow.

I touched base with two pals with whom I’ll grab an easy “let’s catch up” run tomorrow morning on my way through their state, and I made plans to visit my friends with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathons the following day in yet another.

And my “jammed in” three-miler was a shared event including five of my band buddies and “the man in the hat”…though he wasn’t “cowboy-ed up” for today’s run.  I hear those boots are hell to run in, anyway.

I guess National Running Day received its due recognition after all.  My family, my friends, my music all felt a little nudge today by virtue of running.  I got my three miles in, shared it with friends, and touched a few others that have left lasting imprints. in part, with their running shoes.

A good day…and it’s done.  Of course, I had to blog about something on National Running day, so I sit here now in the front of the bus, typing away, as one of the boys grabs the remote to find a movie worth watching…

Marathon Man starring Dustin Hoffman. Turn it up, please…

Dancehall Doctor Jeff McMahon Lives Large

admin | June 1, 2010 in Endurance,Music,NYC Marathon 2010,Running | Comments (3)

Lorilee Craker, a writer for the Grand Rapids Press and author of numerous books including Through the Storm by Lynne Spears (mother of superstar Britney Spears), tracked me down for an interview as our tour buses rolled through Michigan a few months back.  Her article below was originally published by the Grand Rapids Press on February 25, 2010.

In working through the interview, Lorilee kept commenting on the flurry of varied activities bearing my fingerprints; I was  “living large,” she said.  I’ve never really thought in those terms, and my days typically feel more full than frantic, but if I look back at the past three months, I guess I do cover a lot ground.

Since our stop in Grand Rapids, the “Southern Voice” tour has hit 24 additional cities.  My snowboard and I have left our marks in Wisconsin, Nevada, and Whistler, Canada.  I have logged more than a few miles with some of my Team McGraw runners in Florida, Michigan, California and Texas…and the 2010 New York City Marathon remains on the horizon.

The wheels keep rolling, and I keep runnin’.

Thanks, Lorilee, for taking the time to share our new music, support our work with both Team McGraw and the Tug McGraw Foundation, and offer a glimpse into my somewhat restless world…and I’ll see you next time we roll through your backyard.

For more on Lorilee, visit her website at

McMahon (right) and his bandmate/fiddler Dean Brown of Tim McGraw's band, the Dancehall Doctors. (Photo by Kyle Dreier |

GRAND RAPIDS (Feb. 25, 2010) — As keyboard player for the Dancehall Doctors, Jeff McMahon’s been touring for almost 17 years with his buddy Tim McGraw, but when he’s not tickling the ivories onstage, McMahon is sure to be up to something equally exhilarating.

Whether it’s goose hunting in Manitoba, deep sea fishing in Florida, running from rim to rim of the Grand Canyon or serving as director of Team McGraw, a charity that raises funds for brain cancer research and services, McMahon wants to do it all.

“I couldn’t tell you who’s on American Idol, but dadgummit, I’m going to experience some things,” he said from a tour stop on McGraw’s “Southern Voice” tour, which stops Saturday in Grand Rapids.

The 45-year-old McMahon is chronicling his existence-affirming odyssey on his new blog, He blogs about marathons (he’s completed the New York City Marathon several times), his work for the Tug McGraw Foundation, and lots and lots of “road stories.”

After nearly two decades with McGraw, the two are close friends and his bandmates in the Dancehall Doctors are like brothers. Since 2002, when McGraw kicked the Nashville norm by making a record — Tim McGraw and The Dancehall Doctors — with his touring band (as opposed to session musicians), he Doctors have been in the mix, recording the songs they play live. That includes the hits “Live Like You’re Dying” released in 2004 and 2007′s “Let it Go.”

The title track on 2009′s “Southern Voice,” a No. 1 hit, transcends North and South, McMahon insists. “The song is simple, not in the sense of being uneducated, but the core of it: that at the end of the day, the same things are important to people — honesty, decency, hard work and courage.”

“You’re immersed in a working culture, where you wake up first thing in the morning to go to work to provide for your loved ones,” he said. “Whether you farm or build cars, hard work is hard work.”

McMahon, who is single, has worked hard for a cause he’s fervent about: The Tug McGraw Foundation. Named for Tim McGraw’s late father, Tug, who died of brain cancer in 2004, the foundation was established in 2003 to enhance the quality of life for children and adults with brain tumors

The Texas native also leads Team McGraw, an outgrowth of the foundation that encourages people affected by brain debilitating conditions — such as survivors and their friends and family, or loved ones of those who have died — to run or walk a race of any length and raise funds for the cause.

“Whether you walk a local 5K or join us at a marathon, we’ll put together a training program for you that’ll get you from the sofa to the finish line,” he said.

For McGraw, McMahon, and the rest of The Dancehall Doctors, the “finish line” of their 70-plus city tour is a long way away, but that’s just fine with the piano man. He promises fans a rowdy good time at each “Southern Voice” tour stop.

“This is the first huge tour we’ve done without Faith (Hill, McGraw’s superstar wife, who last toured with him in 2007),” he said. (Correction: this is the largest tour we’ve done SINCE touring with Faith in 2007.) “They shared things with the audience that were very different than what Tim and the boys are going to share, let’s put it that way. Both are good, but very different.”