“Every Little Honky Tonk Bar”
Written by Dean Dillon, Bubba Strait, and George Strait
Hearing a new George Strait single in this day and age can make you feel like you’ve entered a time warp.
Strait has enjoyed the longest career at radio in country music history, and he’s done it without significantly changing his sound along the way. A few tweaks here and there, of course, but no matter how traditional or crossover the genre swung in the past, his music never sounded out of place in the contemporary landscape.
“Every Little Honky Tonk Bar” is a reminder of how good the Strait formula remains, but is also startling to listen to, as he does sound out of step from contemporary country music for the first time. Mind you, that’s an indictment of how far the genre has strayed not just from its roots, but from good taste and decent songcraft. A celebration of those little bars you can find in any small town, “Every Little Honky Tonk Bar” brings back the twang, as well as indoor drinking. Did you know that was still a thing?
Strait is still in fine voice, and he can still deliver a lyric with nuance and subtlety. This isn’t one of his all time great singles, of which there must be three dozen by now. But it’s way better than any of the drinking songs you’re going to hear on the radio today, and a promising preview of his upcoming studio album.