The '90s were a fruitful decade for Chris LeDoux, who suddenly became famous after spending two decades hawking self-produced albums out of his trunk on the rodeo circuit. Fortunately, his major-label tenure let him blossom creatively as well as commercially. While “Stampede,” “Copenhagen,” and “Hooked on an 8 Second Ride” continued the tradition of rodeo narratives that had been LeDoux’s stock-in-trade since the early '70s, a new crop of Nashville songwriters and producers helped revamp his sound. “County Fair,” “Cadillac Cowboy,” and “Tougher Than the Rest” have the rock-solid bearing and shiny hooks of George Strait’s best material, but LeDoux’s no-nonsense demeanor gave his songs an integrity that outmatched even King George. The rodeo veteran LeDoux was genuinely tough, which makes his sensitive songs even more convincing. Here, ballads like “Look at You Girl” have a groundedness rarely seen in the commercial country industry. Meanwhile, the stormy spoken narrative of “This Cowboy’s Hat” is a song form that LeDoux all but patented.