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Story by David Scarlett

Tim McGraw steps down from his bus and sees the dew on the grass glistening in the first rays of Louisiana sunlight. There's a chill in the crisp October air as he prepares to repeat an annual ritual that began with his first Swampstock Celebrity Softball Challenge and Concert eight years ago.

He strolls inside his aunt Barbara's house for one quick cup of her fresh-brewed coffee. Then, like every Swampstock year, he's off for a drive around Rayville, near his hometown of Start, La.

"The coolest thing is riding through town," declares Tim. "I'll get in a truck or car or whatever happens to be sitting at Aunt Barbara's and ride around &endash; and just look.

"And you see those 'welcome home' signs in the storefronts and you ride down by the ballpark where people are camping out. It gets you choked up.

"And I drive on the same roads that I rode bicycles on, that I walked on. I knew every square inch of it when I was a kid.

"As I ride around and see what a different life it was back then, I wonder if I could have had any idea that things would be like they are now."

Probably not. How could anybody have imagined things as they are now?

Tim, with a vocal assist from wife Faith Hill, just achieved his 14th No. 1 with "Angry All The Time." He's sold nearly 25 million albums and won more awards than you can shake a stick at, including last month's coveted Entertainer of the Year award from the CMA. This year his Tim McGraw On Tour roadshow was wildly successful. And he's married to the woman of his dreams, with two beautiful daughters and another child on the way.

Read more about Tim's rise to stardom in the current Newsstand Issue.