Travis Tritt

Strong Enough

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After the disappointing performance of 1998's No More Looking Over My Shoulder and his departure from Warner Bros. Records, Travis Tritt mounted a surprising comeback with his Columbia Records debut, 2000's Down the Road I Go. Strong Enough, that album's follow-up, similarly tones down the Southern rock aspect of Tritt's musical palette in favor of a more straight-ahead country sound more acceptable to country radio programmers. In the opening track, the self-written "You Can't Count Me out Yet," Tritt addresses the premature rumors of his commercial demise as well as his return to form. "Some thought I was finally gone for good," he sings, "but those doubters just got rattled/'Cause I'm back in the saddle/Doing better than a body should." If so, it's because he has gotten better at playing the Nashville game, and while the album is not devoid of up-tempo honky tonk material, notably "If You're Gonna Straighten up (Brother Now's the Time)," "Time to Get Crazy," and "I Can't Seem to Get Over You" (each of which Tritt co-wrote), there are many sentimental ballads that look back regretfully on changing times, particularly "County Ain't Country," or treat romantic subjects. Tritt's composition "Strong Enough to Be Your Man," the album's advance single, is an affirmative answer record to Sheryl Crow's 1993 song "Strong Enough," which asked, "Are you strong enough to be my man?" Another good singles choice would be "Can't Tell Me Nothin'," and "You Really Wouldn't Want Me That Way," which also touts the singer's independence, could find a home on radio, too. The irony is that in such songs, Tritt is actually conforming to Nashville's dictates: using standard formulas or co-writing with music row pros, recording with the usual sessionmen. So far, it appears he can have it both ways.

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