McGraw produced the album with Byron Gallimore, who has produced all of his albums. In an interview with Country Weekly, McGraw stated that, "“I think it’s a good microcosm of what my 20 or so years in music have been, in a lot of ways. You can certainly hear parts of my career throughout all of these songs, as well as the future and where my music is headed. To me, the title of the album is all about that time where you stop doing what you have to do, and start doing what you want to do."
McGraw revealed the album's cover art and track listing on July 28, 2014. One day later, the album was made available for preorder via Amazon MP3 and the iTunes Store.
Sundown Heaven Town received positive reviews from critics. Writing for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine suggested the music "come[s] on smooth and easy but have the foundation to last." Chuck Dauphin saying for Billboard how "the singer stretches a little more than usual... and takes a few musical chances." On behalf of USA Today, Jerry Shriver commenting how the project contains "many wise nuggets on the vet's solid outing." Glenn Gamboa stating for Newsday how its an "Eclectic collection of country styles that brings (usually) great results."