Tim McGraw vs. Curb Records: The Next Round

Friday, 29 June 2012 06:02 AM Written by 

Seems Tim McGraw, appearing here tomorrow night with Kenny Chesney, has a problem.  Scott Mervis's preview interview with the singer in yesterday's PG, mentioned the fact  McGraw had seemingly prevailed in his legal dispute with his longtime label, Curb Records and last month, signed with Big Machine Records, the Nashville indie label that's home to Taylor Swift and others.   His first single, "Truck Yeah," was to be released Tuesday.

Now, everything is apparently up in the air.  For the record, McGraw's first Curb single appeared in 1992.  The label is owned by music business veteran Mike Curb, the 42nd  Lieutenant Governor of California, Republican activist and Nashville area philanthropist through his Mike Curb Family Foundation.

It's worth noting that along with the Mike Curb Institute For Music at Rhodes College in Mamphis is notable, but the real beneficiary has been Belmont University in Nashville. home to both the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business and the Curb Event Center. A number of current country stars including Brad Paisley, his record producer Frank Rogers,  Josh Turner Stephen Curtis Chapman and Trisha Yearwood studied at the Curb College during their days at Belmont.

Here's what went down today, told through dueling press releases.

 From Curb's viewpoint

 And from McGraw's.

Let me note one thing and I'm not passing judgment on the legal merits of either side's case. McGraw's situation has understandably generated a lot of press duet to his visibility, but I have to note he is far from the first disgruntled Curb artist. 

In 2000 LeAnn Rimes sued to void her Curb contract (her parents signed it on her behalf when she was 12). Similarly, Hank Williams Jr. and Hank Williams III battled with Curb over their ironclad contracts.  It took Hank III a while to extricate himself from his. He publicized the fight with T-shirts saying "F**k Curb" (no asterisks).

The late Buck Owens did stay long at Curb in the early 90;s, nor did the late Hank Thompson who told me he didn't enjoy his brief experience there since the album he did for them was ill-promoted.  As for Merle Haggard, who signed with Curb in 1990 after leaving Epic Records, he had a few things to say in his 1999 autobiography My House of Memories, In short, he complained Curb did not release or adequately distribute his recordings.  He said, and I quote on pages 218-219:

"There is nothing more frustrating than to be a recording artist who isn't recording or who, if he is, isn't getting his recordings released.  The DJs in the world lost track of me because they was nothing new to play. Patty Hearst could have been on Curb. For that matter, Amelia Earhart may be there now. And Jesse James could've hid out there for a hundred years.  The man (Mike Curb) should've been president. He's the greatest politician I've ever known. And don't we all love politicians?"

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