Emotional Traffic was originally completed in late 2010, but was held by Curb Records. In an interview with "The Boot", McGraw expressed his frustration with the label saying "All the songs have been done for a long time, and the label has had it; It's the last album that they have of mine, so they're trying to hold on to it as long as they can." On May 13, 2011, Curb Records filed a breach-of-contract suit against McGraw, alleging that McGraw recorded tracks for the album too early prior to its delivery to the label.
Several days later, McGraw filed a counter suit against the label seeking advance payment and recording-fund reimbursement, unspecified damages, and a jury trial, which is set to begin in July 2012.
NPR featured Emotional Traffic in its website's First Listen series, streaming the album in its entirety beginning January 16, 2011.