Album Review: “Troubadour” by George Strait
Experience, talent, respect, focus, these are the most appropriate words to describe any work by George Strait, the man with the most recorded #1 country singles ever and who has scored countless #1 albums including earning an album of the year award for his recent accomplishment. This album album is no different. The beauty of Strait is that he never writes his own songs yet he keeps his performance as believable as ever and he sings songs that are unique and original in many ways.
The title track “Troubadour” starts the album off and George gets a hand from Vince Gill on background vocals. What makes this song so appropriate as a title track and an addition to the project is that it is about George. A Troubadour is defined as a wandering musician and as the song says George started out that way an will always be that same person he was when he started. Vince being on the record takes nothing away from it, in fact all he does is add to it and take very little attention away from George’s performance. The song is very believable and brings you right into the album.
“It Was Me” reveals that true country sound that George loves so much and that he keeps alive in the genre. The song tells a story about how a man and his wife met and how she brags so much about how she was lucky and how she made the right choices and he believes it was him who was lucky for having the pleasure of loving her. It’s not sappy or overdone, but a simple, mid tempo dance tune that is bound to bring back nice and happy memories of a growing relationship without all the waterworks. In true George fashion, its simple yet effective.
“Brother’s Of The Highway” is a trucker’s anthem. George gives this song a nice dance floor feel to it and reintroduces the classic road song into the genre reminiscent of “On The Road Again” or “Driving My Life Away”. Its a nice touch to the album and brings in something different. Also adding it’s own touch to the work is a tropical feel of “River Of Love” which works really well with George surprisingly. The song puts George in a new situation, singing a tropical fun song like Kenny Chesney would conquer, but George pulls it off like a pro.
The tribute “House Of Cash” has George working with Patty Loveless in a shout out to the old burned down house of one of country music’s most definitive couples. It’s funny to hear Patty singing better than ever after she fell victim to the new stream of country music singers. She works with George to create a decent and appropriate shout out to county’s power couple and spread an optimistic message despite the loss of both Cash’s and their landmark house in just the past few years. Out of all the possible performers who could have had this song I think these two make the best pair to express the joy and feeling that Johnny and June had as a pair on stage even without love and marriage throughout their careers. The writing of the song is slightly flawed, sounding a little forced, but it’s a small error.
“I Saw God Today”, the first single, brings in a whole new type of song into this unique collection. The song is a very respectable and powerful look into a man’s revelation that God is everywhere all the time as he enjoys the beauty of the simplest things in life. Only George could have done this song with so much simplicity and obtain the respect it deserves. His experience shines here very nicely as he has full control of the song, the story and the message and avoids overproduction to make this a masterpiece. The same is done on the emotional “Give Me More Time” which takes some unique life situation and combines them to one inspirational point, everyone needs time to make things perfect and taking advantage of that time is what it’s all about. Again George keeps it simple and the production is done just right to get the point across nicely without any showing off.
“When You’re in Love” is one of the album’s strongest songs as George takes a highly unusual spin on trying to have fun with the one you love. George warns the listener not to rush into things and to take careful consideration of the little details before setting of for that lovely vacation together. In the process he explains that there is so much to do when your in love and all it takes is patience, consideration, and simplicity to make that that love get away the perfect opportunity for love to grow. In his typical George Strait fashion “Make Her Fall In Love With Me Song” is an enjoyable and upbeat song that makes you want to start dancing along to it right there and then from the first note. its a true country, toe-tapping song that has the main character asking the band to play a song that’ll help him earn the heart of a girl in the room. Screams country if you ask me.
A classic country beat sets up an old style duet with Dean Dillon, writer of many of the songs on the project, in “West Texas Town”. Now this is a real George song that fans have come to expect from Strait, what would his album be without a Texas tribute. The funny thing is that his voice and Dean’s voice are so similar its hard to tell who is singing and when which in a way is a little annoying but also shows they both enjoy the song and that they are well coordinated. Also their uniting on the chorus sounds really catchy and adds a lot to the song.
The best song on the album is by far “House With No Doors”. Kasey Coppola, Kate Coppola and Jamey Johnson collaborated for this song with impressive songwriteing skill. The lyrics bring in a man who asks the main character, a builder, to build him a house with no doors so that if his girl comes back she’ll stay. The basic message of the song is that nothing can keep a woman who is not in love from leaving in the end in some fantastic word play. Closing the album is “If Heartaches Were Horses” which explains how relevant hard times and heartbreak are in ones life and that they are always going to be relevant to one’s life. It adds a nice traditional western swing to end Georges beautiful piece of work.
In the end this is a very nicely done album full of experience with no real filler or repeating morals at all. Instead there’s a little something for everyone. Using his experience and talent as an artist George pulls off every song nicely and with sincerity and simplicity that shows a deep connection to every one. The biggest flaw in this album…it’s way to short. Not one song exceeds 4:00, in fact only two exceed 3:30. It leaves you asking for a little more in the end as far as content goes, but for what is included in this project it is quite decent. It lacks perfection due to it’s short length, but proves without a doubt that George is defiantly a pioneer in modern country music.
Produced by Tony Brown for TBE and George Strait for George Strait Productions
It Was Me
Brothers Of The Highway
River Of Love
House Of Cash (Duet with Patty Lovelace)
I Saw God Today
Give Me More Time
When You’re In Love
Make Her Fall In Love With Me Song
West Texas Town (Duet with Dean Dillon)
House With No Doors
If Heartaches Were Horses