CMT Insider: George Strait Explains His New Twang

The Country Music Superstar Stretches His Songwriting Wings on New Album

One of the greatest singers in the history of country music, George Strait has never been a prolific songwriter. That may be changing, however, with his new album, Twang, which was released Tuesday (Aug. 11).

He co-wrote his latest Top 10 single, “Living for the Night,” with his son Bubba and veteran songwriter Dean Dillon. It’s the first song Strait has written and recorded since “I Can’t See Texas From Here,” a track from his second album, Strait From the Heart. Strait also co-wrote two other songs on the new album — “He’s Got That Something Special” and “Out of Sight Out of Mind.”

Strait co-produced Twang, his 38th album, with longtime collaborator Tony Brown at Jimmy Buffett‘s Shrimpboat Sound Studio in Key West, Fla. In a recent interview, Strait talked about the album and his renewed interest in songwriting.

Jim Lauderdale, Kendell Marvel and Jimmy Ritchey co-wrote a song titled “Twang” that seemed like the perfect choice for the album title.

“It didn’t come about until after the record was done, and that’s such an obvious title for it,” Strait said. “If ‘twang’ is not what I do, then I don’t know what is.”

Having released more albums than some people even own, he’s conscious of retaining his familiar sound while still exploring new musical ideas.

“All the songs are different,” he said. “In all my albums, I feel like they’re different enough to where I don’t feel like I did this the last time. I mean, sure, it’s country music. I’m not trying to change that, but each song we do is different.”

Bubba Strait, who has four songwriting credits on the album, provided the inspiration for his father to write some original songs for Twang.

“My son started toying with the idea of trying to write a little bit, so that kind of gave me the bug to write, also,” Strait said. “So we started writing a few things together, and I kind of got into it again. I had the idea for ‘Living for the Night’ for a long, long time, but I just never got around to sitting down and trying to write it.”

The musical diversity of the album includes “El Rey,” a song Strait sings in Spanish.

“There are so many areas on the record, so many different songs — from the zydeco to the mariachi to the up-tempo Delbert McClinton-Gary Nicholson song to ‘Where Have I Been All My Life,’ which says so much. And then the fact that I wrote some of the songs with my son and Dean, all of those different things — and the difference between them — made it come together so much, if that makes any sense.”

Regarding his future as a songwriter Strait said, “I had a great time writing for this album, and I’m going to continue to probably write from now on.”