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Tim McGraw gives sailors the VIP treatment, plays new music on TODAY

Tim McGraw knows how to make his fans feel welcome, and during his visit to the TODAY plaza Friday, he made sure to run up and down the barricades, shaking hands and making friends. But he had a special place for the service men and women who happened to be in town for Fleet Week: front and center."It doesn't matter what side of the fence you fall on any issue. What matters is these guys put their
Tim McGraw had some special guests on the TODAY plaza Friday.Today

Tim McGraw knows how to make his fans feel welcome, and during his visit to the TODAY plaza Friday, he made sure to run up and down the barricades, shaking hands and making friends. But he had a special place for the service men and women who happened to be in town for Fleet Week: front and center.

"It doesn't matter what side of the fence you fall on any issue. What matters is these guys put their butts on the line every day for us," he said.

McGraw's just that kind of fellow, and had plenty of charm and music to share during his performances of "Something Like That," "Southern Girl" and "Overrated," a new tune from his "Sundown Heaven Town" album. But the only other place fans can hear his new music is on tour — the musician is hitting the road months before the album is released.

"People ask us, 'What's your favorite thing to play on stage and on tour?' and usually for us it's the newest stuff that we have," said McGraw, who revealed he and his band are playing as many as six songs from the new record while on the road.

And after over two decades in the business, he said he still gets a real charge from the screaming crowd. "That's why you do this for a living," he grinned. "I don't think when you're a kid and you think about being a rock star that you think about being in a studio and singing the same song over and over. You think about being out in front of a lot of people and playing music."

Which is exactly what McGraw is doing. "Sundown Heaven Town" will be available Sept. 16.