For his new album, "Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors," McGraw took the unusual step of forgoing studio musicians and recording the album with his road band. The artist recently discussed the proje

For his new album, "Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors," McGraw took the unusual step of forgoing studio musicians and recording the album with his road band. The artist recently discussed the project with Billboard Associate Editor Deborah Evans Price for the page one feature in the Nov. 23 issue of the magazine, excerpts of which can be read by clicking here.

Below are his comments about his longtime band, the Dancehall Doctors, and its members' contributions to the project, which are exclusive to Billboard.com.


• Dean Brown, fiddle, from Edinburg, Texas, joined McGraw's band in 1993: "He's probably one of my best friends in the world. He's a beautifully solid fiddler. He doesn't try to be fancy. He can be aggressive when he needs to be, but he just plays great, very tasteful, and brings a lot of color to this record that might not necessarily [have] been there."

• David Dunkley, percussionist, from Charleston, W.Va., joined in 1995: "[Nicknamed] Meat, [he] is very soulful and a great singer. He started out being our drum tech for a couple of years . . . Meat brings a lot of soul. He never overplays. There's perfect places where he puts things, and you can hear it in the album. It really makes a big difference in the record."

• Denny Hemingson, steel guitar, from Ames, Iowa, joined in 1994: "He plays great steel guitar. He's like the quiet bull you never want to piss off. I have a lot of respect for Denny as a musician. He's just an outstanding individual, and everyone in our band respects Denny's musicianship."

• Billy Mason, drummer, from Cleveland, joined in 1994: "He's always a kid at heart. He wants everybody to be happy. On this record he was the rock that kept everybody together. He always puts on a great show, and I don't think he had any overdubs at all on this record . . . He was the star of the record. At the end of the session we all stood up and gave him a standing ovation."

• John Marcus, bass, from Grand Rapids, Mich., joined in 1991: "John is impeccable on bass guitar. He's played in rock bands, and he's played all kinds of music. John has become one of my best friends. We've traveled together for almost 13 years and played in every little club from here to Delaware. Give John a shot of Crown Royal, and he'll play the bass for you all night. He's amazing to watch."

• Jeff McMahon, piano, from Gainesville, Texas, joined in 1993: "He's kind of the golden boy in the band. He has the long blonde hair and puts on a great show. Jeff brought a certain style and free spirit as a keyboard player that's just really recognizable."

• Bob Minner, acoustic guitar/banjo, from St. Louis, joined in 1993: "[Jokingly] I haven't figured out what Bob adds to anything except comic relief. [But seriously,] Bob can play just about anything. He plays guitar, steel guitar, dobro, banjo, fiddle . . . I first met Bob when I was singing at Printer's Alley [in Nashville] down at the Rainbow Room. He's a true friend."

• Darran Smith, lead guitar, a native of Lawrence, Kan., joined in 1989: "We've been close friends since the first time we met. He's an incredible guitar player. When he takes off in a lead, I never know where he's going. He has to leave a trail of bread crumbs behind him when he does a lead, and I think that's what makes it so incredible because he plays with so much heart. He plays guitar like a singer sings. To have him on this record and to hear his guitar playing, it's just oozing with originality. I could have never made this record without Darran co-producing it, because he's been right at my side from the beginning and he always believed in what I wanted to do."

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