George Jones - It Just Comes Natural

George Strait
It Just Comes Natural

(MCA Nashville)

First Appeared in The Music Box, November 2006, Volume 13, #11

Written by John Metzger


George Strait has racked up more chart-topping singles than any singer in country music’s rich history, and it, therefore, isn’t terribly surprising that in crafting his 37th album — the appropriately titled It Just Comes Natural — he did little to alter his approach. Although there are hints of south-of-the-border spice floating through the final track Come on Joe, Strait largely delivers the same fan-pleasing array of honky-tonk two-steps and weepy ballads that have been his bread and butter for the past several decades.

Dotted with Hammond B-3 organ and blues-y guitar, the arrangements that Strait employs on It Just Comes Natural occasionally strike an ambience that is akin to pop and rock, but the pedal steel and fiddle flourishes that run through the entirety of the set help to keep the collection firmly rooted in a classic country sound. While the differences among It Just Comes Natural’s 15 songs are subtle, Strait masterfully moves between paying tribute to George Jones (She Told Me So) and dabbling in the sort of Texas-bred folk that Lyle Lovett typically tackles. Elsewhere, he perfectly captures the emotional devastation of He Must Have Really Hurt You Bad and playfully revels in the spry, whirling groove of Guy Clark’s Texas Cookin’.

There’s little doubt that some of the lyrics on It Just Comes Natural are riddled with clichés: "Seems lately, every time it rains, it pours," Strait sings on I Ain’t Her Cowboy Anymore, while on the title tune, he simply states "Baby, it’s so easy lovin’ you/It just comes natural." Yet, his confident vocals leave one with the impression that he probably could sing his way through the phone book and make it sound good. As a result, It Just Comes Natural is another consistently solid, if not entirely groundbreaking, effort from one of the Country Music Hall of Fame’s newest members. starstarstar ½

It Just Comes Natural is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2006 The Music Box