54 Songs, 2 Hours 50 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

By the time Chris LeDoux started to garner some fame in the early '90s, he'd already released two dozen albums as an independent artist. The 1994 Capitol collection American Cowboy surveys that output, from LeDoux’s earliest recordings (in 1972) to his 1993 album Under This Old Hat. Over the course of these 54 songs, it’s easy to see the ways that LeDoux matured as an artist—he gained confidence as a vocalist, and his songwriting became more muscular and less rustic. But even more striking is his consistency. His voice is a masculine and idiosyncratic instrument, but throughout his career he always sang like the self-made everyman he was in real life. He valued sincerity, originality, and integrity over commercial polish. Every singer in Nashville wants to be a cowboy, and many have learned how to fake it—but LeDoux was the genuine article. His rodeo songs weren't conceptual but autobiographical. George Strait’s version of “Amarillo by Morning” might be prettier, but LeDoux’s feels truer to the lyrics. In his hands, it's not a song you hear on the radio but one that a traveling man sings to himself to keep from being lonely.

EDITORS’ NOTES

By the time Chris LeDoux started to garner some fame in the early '90s, he'd already released two dozen albums as an independent artist. The 1994 Capitol collection American Cowboy surveys that output, from LeDoux’s earliest recordings (in 1972) to his 1993 album Under This Old Hat. Over the course of these 54 songs, it’s easy to see the ways that LeDoux matured as an artist—he gained confidence as a vocalist, and his songwriting became more muscular and less rustic. But even more striking is his consistency. His voice is a masculine and idiosyncratic instrument, but throughout his career he always sang like the self-made everyman he was in real life. He valued sincerity, originality, and integrity over commercial polish. Every singer in Nashville wants to be a cowboy, and many have learned how to fake it—but LeDoux was the genuine article. His rodeo songs weren't conceptual but autobiographical. George Strait’s version of “Amarillo by Morning” might be prettier, but LeDoux’s feels truer to the lyrics. In his hands, it's not a song you hear on the radio but one that a traveling man sings to himself to keep from being lonely.

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