Just like taxes and holidays, there hasn't been a year in the last three decades in which George Strait hasn't released a new recording and 2008 is no different. The 40th album or collection released by Strait and his career-long label MCA Records, “Troubadour” finds him comfortably singing songs that run through the scope of his career.
The title track “Troubadour” leads off the record and in less than three minutes Strait sings about his whole career and covers the same ground lyrically as Toby Keith’s “As Good Once As I Ever Was” but with much classier lyrics and a time-tested melody that will be a massive hit for George whenever he releases the song as a single. Written by legendary producer Buddy Cannon and the late Randy Hardison, “It Was Me” has the fiddle and steel guitar drenched melody of classic 1980’s George Strait. “Give Me More Time” has the sound of stuff from earlier in the decade while “Make Her Fall In Love” recalls songs like “The Love Bug,” which George recorded in the 1990s.
Radio friendly songs have always been George Strait’s forte but “I Saw God Today,” the first single from “Troubadour,” is probably the most immediate, obvious hit to come from Strait in the last three or four years. With a catchy chorus, melody and lyrics that relate to both sexes, George sure managed to hit a home run with the song. For an artist who has rarely recorded duets, George Strait somehow finds himself with a pair of them on this record. The first of the duets is “House of Cash.” Written about Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, the song simply dictates what happened to their home after the couple passed away. With soaring fiddles and bluesy piano and guitar notes backing them up, Strait and duet partner Patty Loveless sound great together. George has often sung western swing tunes on his record and “West Texas Town” is the second duet. It is sung like an old Bob Wills track with Strait’s favorite songwriter Dean Dillon.
After wining multiple awards with the single “Give It Away” from “It Just Comes Natural,” George returned to the Jamey Johnson fountain for another story telling song about relationships in “The House With No Doors.” It’s the kind of tried and true traditional country song that has been George’s bread and butter throughout the years. And that’s what it all comes down to. George Strait likes certain kinds of songs, has a keen ear for what works and what doesn’t and continues to deliver excellent albums year after year. “Troubadour” is no exception. It’s like your favorite pair of jeans: comfortable.