When you hear twin fiddles and a steel guitar...
From beginning to end, this is the George Strait album for fans who don't particularly like country music. With such a glowing intro, I'll be the first to tell you the associated movie is enjoyable but not worthy of an Oscar. However, you just gotta give kudos to a man who insists his wife will be the only woman he will ever kiss! That's George- a gentleman and an example in a world where true life love stories don't seem to exist. But back to the music...
From honky tonk to traditional ballads, George is king. I'm partial to the two versions of "Heartland", both the upbeat opener and the closer- the sweet ballad starring his son. If I'm not mistaken, the co-composer of the great Carpenters hits had a hand here writing this. Lyricist John Bettis proves a good song can be done well in any genre.
"She Lays It All On The Line" tells a lusty little tale of his gal but in an adult yet unexplicit manner. The play between the guitar and piano is classic. George's vocals are confident. He is thoroughly enjoying this song.
Being a newbie to George, I didn't expect the clever and not always so vague lyrics found on "Overnight Male". Comparing the Pony Express to his sexual prowess, George woos his lady effectively, even if his tongue is firmly is his cheek and not hers. It's fun and frothy- fully unexpected and successful at making you think twice about his ability to kick up his heels.
Before you think the collection is all made up of upbeat dance hall swing, be assured that there are plenty of traditional ballads here as well. If you like your country with a heavy dose of pop leanings, I Cross My Heart and Last in Love fill the bill just fine. Should you prefer a more traditional approach, George's great voice shines on When Did You Stop Loving Me and The King of Broken Hearts, drawing from the late 50s/early 60s style of country, all while sounding amazingly fresh.
That, in fact, is the best pony trick of all- George has discovered a way to consistently give the fans and critics exactly what they want. He delivers contemporary and instantly classic music without compromising artistic integrity. The title track tells the whole story behind the man.