Wednesday, April 9, 2008
George Strait - Troubador
You know I have to admit a prejudice against mainstream Country. I tend to dismiss anything on a major country label. In the 80's country was awful until the rise of the neo-traditionalists, such as Dwight Yoakam, in the the late 80's and early 90's. Then along came Garth and Faith, and in came soccer mom easy listening schlock. However, I need to be objective and and give credit when major labels embrace legitimate country stars. Artists like Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert and Ashton Shepherd are legitimate and signs of light. Although there will always be a tug of war between pop country and traditional country in the marketplace, perhaps the pendulum is swinging. Getting off the soapbox, I say all of this to point out that in the midst of this is George Strait. He has been nothing but himself throughout, doing it honest. His new album Troubador pretty much sums him up. As he puts it on the title cut, "I was a young troubador when I rode in on a song and I'll be an old troubador when I'm gone."
The album has songs for the traditionalists and even a couple for the soccer moms. In fact, the most mainstream song "I saw God Today" predictably is the first single and debuted in the Billboard Top 20 immediately. Not surprising for a guy who has over 50 number one songs. It is amazing that he can still do this when Nashville has discarded many of the contemporaries with which he began his career. The secret is his voice, which is simply the perfect male Country voice. Strait respects the roots and influences of the genre. The best example of this is the duet "House of Cash" which memorializes the burning down of Johnny Cash's estate. Accompanying him in this tribute is Patty Loveless. Their are many other highlights on the album. So if you are prejudiced against big label Nashville as I am, put aside your presumption and give it a listen.
Listen to River of Love:
This review also appears on Twangville