NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tim McGraw is free.

The country star has moved on from a troubling label, quit drinking and grown up a bit, and all that has given McGraw a new energy he says you can hear on his latest album, "Two Lanes of Freedom."

"I think this record is definitely sort of a flag in the ground for me," McGraw said.

His first release with Big Machine Records has been the talk of Nashville for a year now.

For the first time in years, everything is aligned exactly how McGraw wants it. And the 45-year-old singer is fired up like he's playing under Friday night lights.

The release of "Two Lanes of Freedom" neatly bookmarks a new period of growth for McGraw personally. While struggling professionally, he was also reshaping his life away from the spotlight where he and wife Faith Hill juggle two superstar careers while raising three daughters. He quit drinking and started putting things right.

"I think I just didn't feel comfortable with what I was doing anymore," McGraw said. "I think there came a time when I felt uncomfortable with how much I was drinking. I mean, who knows if it was too much or over the top or whatever. I felt like it was. So I got to the point where I felt like it was too much and I didn't want my kids to be around that.

"(I'm) growing up a little bit is what I'm trying to say more than anything overall," McGraw said.