Top 30 Soldier Songs: #15 – “If You’re Reading This” by Tim McGraw
Tim McGraw pulled off a surprise performance of a new, never before heard song Alan Jackson style at the 2007 ACM awards. the song was a ballad written by him and his good friends The Warren Brothers. The entire song was accompanied almost solely by acoustic guitar and not only drew a standing ovation, but brought so much support the following weeks that it actually replaced Tim’s single at the time, “I Need You”, as the newest single from his album Let It Go. That song was “If You’re Reading This”.
Tim stated that he and the two Warrens were inspired to write the song less than three weeks before the ACM awards were to air after reading a magazine article about war casualties. The song was quicklypenned and Tim and his wife Faith (for those of you who didn’t know that and have been living under a rock) decided to pay all expenses to fly a select group of families of fallen war heroes to the show to join Tim onstage for the performance. This was meant to support how the song was meant to be a tribute to both these fallen heroes and the families they left back home.
The song is written in the form of a letter home, a letter meant to be the last letter home for a soldier if he dies. The soldier in the song has in fact died and the song is written as if this letter was being read. In his letter the soldier explains how thankful he if for his families support and how proud of himself he has become for doing what he did and fighting for what he did. The whole thing comes around to the one message that defines these letters, “if you’re reading this/ I’m already home”.
Tim has never really been the biggest supporter of war or soldiers, and that’s not to say he doesn’t care for his fellow Americans doing their duty he just hasn’t been as expressive in his music on the subject as his fellow artists. However when he finally decided he was going to speak on the subject the result was one of the most memorable performances of his career and of the ACM awards. The song reached the top five on the charts and managed to gain a following without needing much financial support to back it up. Instead it carried itself along as one of the most memorable soldier songs of the last decade.