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Music Label Won’t Let Tim McGraw Dump It

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CN) - Country superstar Tim McGraw is trying to skip out on his contract with Curb Records even though he owes it at least one more album, the mega label claims in Davidson County Court.

Curb notes in lawsuit that McGraw publicly tried to sever ties with the label last month. On April 20, the Associated Press reported that "McGraw said his upcoming 'Emotional Traffic' album would be his 'absolute last album' with Curb if it kills him."

McGraw insinuated in the interview that Curb has been holding the album, his expected fifth with the label, hostage even though he finished it in October 2010.

"All the songs have been done for a long time, and the label has had it," McGraw told the AP. "It's the last album that they have of mine, so they're trying to hold on to it as long as they can."

But the vintage of those songs on "Emotional Traffic" is precisely the problem, Curb claims. The label says it received the same recordings as "rough mixes" four months earlier.

Under a 1997 recording agreement with Curb, McGraw promised "that all Masters embodied upon each Option Period Album would be recorded 'no earlier than twelve (12) months nor later than eighteen (18) months following Delivery to Curb of the immediately preceding album,'" the lawsuit states.

McGraw also agreed that he and Curb would approve each album's songs, according to the label.

Curb says it did not have any say in the songs McGraw picked for "Emotional Traffic."

Instead of recording new songs for his fifth effort with the label, Curb says McGraw sent masters of previously recorded songs.

"In addition, because a Greatest Hits album was released by Curb Records during the fifth option period, the Emotional Traffic Masters were provided to Curb Records prior to the period for with Delivery of the fifth Option Period Album is permitted," according to the complaint.

Despite Curb's accusations, McGraw insists that "Emotional Traffic" satisfies his obligations to the label for five albums.

Curb insists that McGraw is in breach of his recording agreement and has missed the acceptable deadline for delivering a fifth album.

"Because he has refused to record and Deliver the fifth Option Period Album to Curb Records, Tim McGraw has also repudiated the June 21, 2001 Settlement," according to the complaint. "Curb Records is entitled, therefore not only to a fifth Option Period Album, but also a sixth Option Period Album under the Recording Agreement."

In the June 21, 2001, settlement, Curb agreed to reduce the number of albums McGraw owed it from six to five even though he had released one greatest hits albums instead of the promised two, the lawsuit explains.

Curb seeks declaratory relief and asks that the court declare McGraw in breach of his recording agreement. The label also asks the court to stop McGraw from recording with anyone else until he delivers two more albums.

The label is represented by Jay Bowen with Bowen & Unger.

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