GEORGE STRAIT> Twang

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

george strait

GEORGE STRAIT

Twang

(MCA NASHVILLE)

★★★★☆

It makes sense that George Strait is wearing his black cowboy hat on the cover of his new CD Twang. With country music currently represented by a girly singer/songwriter, Hannah Montana and the artist-formerly-known-as-Hootie, Strait, black hat and all, is back to bring a little gravity to the situation.

The debut single, “Living For The Night,” is emblematic of his subtle magic. Like a seasoned character actor, Strait fully-embodies a desperate single guy, whose only solace comes from the “neon arms,” of a honkytonk. The tune, co-written by the singer, traffics in pop chord changes, but its sentiments are purely country. Toss in the lowdown title track, a fireball from loose cannon Delbert McClinton (“Same Kind Of Crazy”), and you have the makings of one hell of a party album. Until you get to the incandescent “Where Have I Been All My Life?” Balancing appreciation for existence, with sorrow at how fast it goes, (“My folks sure got old in a hurry”), this weeper will have you reeling in recognition.

Genres be damned. This is another stone-cold classic from King George. Now, if only his courtiers would pay attention. Then the whole darn kingdom of country music would be in much better shape.

11 Comments

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  1. King George reigns!!!!!!

    He not only gets better looking with age – he gets better vocally and creatively.

    There’s no one–I repeat–no one who comes close to George Strait.

  2. Hey Jeff: You must be one of those hyper-touchy liberals. I meant that Darius Rucker is corny and hammy and not country, except for his marketing campaign. And the same goes for Taylor and Hannah. Skin-deep and emotionally for children. You do yourself a disservice by making this political. I hate Sugarland and Toby Keith, too. Got a blanket statement for that?

    xxPeter G

  3. Peter I am with you bud. Why does it have to be racism to say that hoottie aint country? Talented yes but anyway.
    What’s happened is the people that like genuine country are pulling out their old music and playin it.
    You know the saying “what comes around, goes around”? I think it is the same thing here. Once these teenie bopping pop culture peckerheads pull up their pants that are hanging around their knees and when CMT starts to look different than MTV, the genuine country will have made its way back home.

  4. To those nitwits who claim that not adoring Hoot…er…..Darius is racist, all I can suggest is go find a old Charley Pride album. There was a Black man who knew country music!

    I have faith that country will find itself again. I grew up in Texas in the 1970’s when we were inundated by God awful country-pop. Yes, I’m referrring to you Kenny Rogers and you too, Barbera Mandrell! Thankfully, George came along and reminded folks what country was supposed to sound like. I have faith that somewhere, there is another singer who gets it and will set music back on track. If not, I shudder to think of a future where Rascal Flatts and Kid Rock are considered classic Country…..

  5. I think Strait is great. However, I have come to the belief that criticisms of Taylor Swift, Sugarland and other pop confections are beside the point. Why? Because folks can easily enough confuse country music with what Nashville cranks out in the name of, you know, selling records. Once you get it through your head that Nashville is a deeply cynical place in which to make music, and that selling records is what Nashville wants to do (and why not?), the idea that there was a golden age of country music and Taylor Swift is an interloper makes little sense. She’s a good writer whose records are weird version of bland ’90s pop. If everyone would quit clinging to this idea that, just because a record is made in Nashville, it has something to do with country music, we’d all be a bit saner. And I think that country music has always been about selling if not selling out. Ever listen to the crap Nashville cranked out in the late ’50s and early ’60s when the town was running scared in the face of rock ‘n’ roll? Nashville is a wonderful place for music in many ways, but it’s a musical culture that can be predicated on denial, as if blues, soul, rock ‘n’ roll and jazz were merely mirages and the important thing is to keep selling exaggerated images of supposedly down-home “American values” to suburbanites. And millions of schlocky songs, or sex appeal a la Sugarland, or teenage dreams via Swift (who is at least honest about her preoccupations). It’s easy to say that the old stuff was better, and it was at least more honest in the way it respected its very simple musical and lyrical conventions. But it’s way more complicated than that.

    I think the Strait review was good and don’t mean to imply that the author missed the point. And Strait is as classic and Texas as Willie Nelson or the great Johnny Bush.

    As my friend Blair Keso has always said: “Country music is what Nashville wants you to think it is on any given day.”

  6. Mike Quigley, totally agree and i think a singer/songwriter has come around to help KING GEORGE remind poeple of what country music is suppose to sound like. His name is Jamey Johnson. All we need now is have someone go to Nashville and remind the suits what country music is suppose to sound like.

    Peter, great review of a great artist

  7. Thanks KWN: A spirited debate is always cool and I think there’s great stuff here. It’s just when one says they don’t like an album by a teen or a black man and people jump on THAT part of it–that’s when it loses focus. Rock on readers PG

  8. Totally agree peter. Im not a fan of Carrie Underwood’s music, doesnt mean i hate her as a person. Taylor Swifts music is good if your a 15 year old girl in love with the quarter back of your high school football team. I like Darius Rucker, in Hootie and the Blowfish, but this music now is not so good. Does that mean i hate black people and women?….NO. It means im not a fan of there music.

    Ill be waiting to read your next review…keep up the good work

  9. There is a big difference between the country/pop style of Kenny Rogers, and the crap this is Taylor Swift, and all the rest of today.

    Kenny Rogers represented a hybrid of styles that appealed to people of BOTH sides; country and pop. He would do “Coward of the County” that appealed to the country fans, then shoot back with a “You Decorated My Life” that got the pop fans. It was still about the artistry of making music.

    Taylor Swift is about IMAGE. Kenny Rogers was not. Taylor Swift is about MARKETING. KR was not. Taylor Swift is about MTV. Kenny was about MUSIC.

    Don’t put KR in the group. It is not fair to a true music legend.

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