George Strait is one of the leading proponents of a traditional country music that is styled with Texas swing, delivering his music with a rich, no frills voice and a straight-ahead delivery.
PURE COUNTRY is the soundtrack to Strait's film debut, offering a variety of swinging shuffles, traditional honky tonk, weepy ballads and country rockers. He wears his influences proudly, and having been doing it so well for so long, he has, in turn, become a major influence on the next generation of new traditionalists. One can clearly hear Merle Haggard, Bob Wills and George Jones in his music; but give a listen to new guys like Clay Walker, and you'll hear a distinctive George Strait influence.
Riding a flat-bed of fiddle, pedal steel and genuinely heartfelt vocals, Strait takes the listener on a tour of the country singer's world. On the uptempo "Heartland," George explains that to "sing a song about the heartland" is to "sing a song about my life." The album's hit, "I Cross My Heart," is a strong love ballad co-written by one of Nashville's best current songwriters, Eric Kaz. A gentle fiddle leads the listener into the cry-in-your-beer classic "When Did You Stop Loving Me," and before long the fiddle is weeping alongside George. Strait cuts loose on several songs, but its the trademark hard country tracks like Mel Tillis' "Thoughts Of A Fool" that work best. Jim Lauderdale provides the strongest and most traditional sounding material (particularly "King Of Broken Hearts"), yet both of his songs have clever, modern musical twists.