Rennie Dyball in Columbia and Lexington
May 12, 2010 12:00 PM

Out on his 62-city Southern Voice Tour, the country superstar takes us backstage for an inside peek at what you can’t see from your concert seat

1 CLOTHING OPTIONAL

After several tours with his wife, Faith Hill, McGraw’s Southern Voice Tour is decidedly more of a boys’ club. “There’s less nudity involved while running the halls when my wife is here than when she’s not,” jokes McGraw, 42. “And getting tattoos on the road is always possible. I don’t know if Faith would be real crazy about another one, though!”

2 WEAR HALSTON…SOMETIMES

For those times when clothing is required, there’s nothing wrong with pushing the boundaries a bit. “I feel a little inappropriate wearing this shirt-this blouse,” he says with a laugh of the black and white Halston number. “It’s in honor of the women’s Olympic figure skating tonight,” he jokes. “I’m gonna work that into the act.” And he did, telling the crowd at Mizzou Arena, “This is a shirt you can do a triple axel in.”

3 MULTITASK

Between cities, McGraw keeps busy working on new music, making plans for the tour and reading film scripts. Not to mention maintaining the full beard he sported in February while filming [Love Don’t Let Me Down] with Gwyneth Paltrow. “Our chemistry onscreen is great,” he says, “but I’m very much looking forward to losing this beard. It’s uncomfortable, it makes your face look fat, and there’s so much gray it it. At least it’s not patchy-lots of testosterone.”

4 WATCH THE LANGUAGE

When his daughters Gracie, 12, Maggie, 11, and Audrey, 8, join him on the road, “Everybody pays attention to the language,” says McGraw. “I grew up in locker rooms playing sports, and when I get out on the road, it can get pretty bad!” Luckily he and his band, the Dancehall Doctors, have time on their side. “We’ve aged gracefully, so we’re better at putting a muzzle on ourselves,” he says with a smile. “We’re more sophisticated about [cursing] now.”

5 GO HOME OFTEN

“I’m rarely out for more than a couple days,” says McGraw, who usually flies out to the show in the afternoon and gets home late-night so he can see his girls off to school in the morning. “You can get the blahs from waking up on the bus every day, doing the same routine,” he says. “I think having your regular life too keeps it fresh. It’s like you’re going to work.”

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