Tim McGraw has waged a lengthy legal battle with his former label, Curb Records, stemming from the record company accusing the country superstar of having breached his contract with them in 2011. While both parties hashed it out in court, Tim was unable to release any new music -- a fact that he admits still pains him almost two years later.

"They hurt my career," Tim tells Billboard magazine. "I felt like I was at the top of my game, and to not be able to get to the places I wanted to be ... it was really hard to sit back, with me being competitive. Nothing against any other artists -- I love success for anybody. I always say, 'I want everybody to do great. I just want to do better.' Just watching all the things that are going on and to have to sit on the sidelines, it's been tough."

Now signed to Big Machine Records, Tim says he is thrilled with his new label home. "I wanted to go someplace where there's a freshness and energy, and [label head] Scott [Borchetta's] got that energy," Tim explains. "Anything's possible, there's no rules, and I feel like I made my career that way. Had I known the rules, I wouldn't make records the way I make records. I've got all the freedom I want. It's a partnership."

The new set of tunes is one Tim says proves he is still reinventing himself. His continual strive to be a better artist is reflected through the musical chances he takes on Two Lanes of Freedom, his first album for new label home, Big Machine Records.

"On my last album, I was discovering some new sounds and new things that I wanted to do, scratching the surface of the direction I wanted to head," says the 45-year-old entertainer. "This album was a way to reach a little further back, to all that I'd done throughout my career, and bring both sides together -- it's a combination of that discovery, along with some rediscovery."

Two Lanes of Freedom will be released on Feb. 5. Curb Records is also issuing an album featuring Tim's previously-released duets with Lionel Richie, Kenny Chesney, Gwyneth Paltrow and others. Tim McGraw and Friends will be released Jan. 22.

Watch The Boot's Interview With Tim and Wife Faith Hill