Album Review: George Strait – Troubadour
George Strait has a knack for choosing the right songs, which has helped him remain a constant on the charts over the past twenty seven years, so it’s hard not to jump on his bandwagon and praise everything he does. His twenty-fifth studio album, Troubadour, no doubt contains some strong singles and has him stretching his artistic wings when compared to his recent efforts, but a few song choices keep the album from being better than slightly above average.
Vince Gill joins in on the title track, lending background vocals as Strait sings about being an old troubadour while reflecting on his younger days and knowing he’ll always be the same–until he’s gone. It’s an introspective look at his career and what’s to come and seemingly raises the question, “What will country music be without George Strait?”
“It Was Me” follows and sounds like a typical Strait song, and although it’s slightly reminiscent of Brad Paisley’s “We Danced,” it’s enjoyable. Kenny Chesney would be proud of the next couple of songs; “Brothers Of The Highway” bluntly drops a pirate ship in the middle of the chorus and “River of Love” has an island vibe going on. Along with the overwrought and rehashed “Give Me More Time,” these three are among the weaker tracks on the album.
“House of Cash” is a duet with Patty Loveless about the burning of Johnny and June’s house and while sonically pleasing, the lyric comes off as a little too contrived. Following “House of Cash” are four of the strongest songs on Troubadour: “When You’re In Love,” “Make Her Fall In Love With Me,” “West Texas Town,” and “House With No Doors.”
“Make Her Fall In Love With Me” is a toe tappin’ little ditty that sets up the western swing duet, “West Texas Town”, with Dean Dillon that was written by Robert Earl Keen and Dillon. It’s a great track that’s impossible not to enjoy if you like King George and it’s surprising that Ray Benson’s name isn’t somewhere in the credits.
Perhaps the strongest song on the album is “House With No Doors,” penned by Kacey Coppola, Kate Coppola, and Jamey Johnson. Strait tries to convince a man with a heartache that he can’t build a house with no doors to keep a woman who doesn’t love him, as he sings “And if there ain’t one, she’ll make one / Either way, she’ll run / And leave you a house with a hole for a door.” The album closes with “If Heartaches Were Horses,” a song that laments the prevalence of heartaches and hard times, spun into a western theme while painting some great imagery.
Overall, George Strait delivers what his fans have come to expect from him on Troubadour and other than a couple of songs, it’s a solid album that should garner him a few more number ones and thankfully delays the answer to the question, “What would country music be without George Strait?”
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