George Strait ‘Troubadour’: Lyrics & Story Behind the Song

by Taylor Cunningham
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(Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for ACM)

The George Strait classic Troubadour may sound like a song about your typical cowboy. But it’s actually an ode to the singer’s long and storied career as the king of country music.

The song has sold nearly one million copies during its lifetime. And three years after its release, it was certified gold. But despite its overwhelming popularity, Troubadour only reached number seven on the Billboard list of Hot Country Songs.

However, the catchy, upbeat tune has become one of George Strait’s most enduring pieces, even outlasting some of his 60 chart-topping hits. And that’s because Troubadour shows an in-depth look at the man behind the microphone.

Song Facts

  • Best Lines: “Well, the truth about a mirror is that a damned old mirror don’t really tell the whole truth/ It don’t show what’s deep inside/Or read between the lines.”
  • Release Date: January 1, 2008
  • Written By: Leslie Satcher, Monty H Holmes
  • Produced By: Tony Brown, George Strait

‘Troubadour’ is a Tribute to Strait’s County Music Career

Troubadour is definitely one of George Strait’s most uplifting hits. The lyrics tell the tale of a man who is satisfied and nostalgic about the life he’s lived. But the man at the heart of the song isn’t a hypothetical person—it’s George.

When the song debuted, George Strait was 13 years into his career and had a ton of success to reflect upon. And in the story, the singer compares himself to a lyrical poet of country music, which we’d say is a good metaphor.

To make fans further understand the meaning of the song, he dropped a Troubadour music video later that year that showcases the fond memories George Strait has of his humble beginnings and climb to the top. In it, the Grammy-winning artist highlights clips of himself singing to sold-out crowds, spending time with his family, and enjoying the only hobby he loves as much as performing—riding his horses.

The images prove that Strait “can still raise a little Cain with the boys, Honky-tonks, and pretty women,” and explains just why he’s “still right there with ’em, singing above the crowd and the noise,” all of which he’s continuing to do to this day.

Ever since the release, George Strait has carried the self-imposed title with him, referring to himself as a troubadour of sorts in many interviews.

The single comes from George Strait’s 25th studio record by the same name. It won him a Grammy for Best Country Album of the Year and went on to become one of his 33 platinum-certified albums.

George Strait ‘Troubadour’ Lyrics

I still feel 25 most of the time
I still raise a little Cain with the boys
Honky-tonks and pretty women
Lord, I’m still right there with ’em
Singing above the crowd and the noise

Sometimes I feel like Jesse James
Still trying to make a name
Knowing nothing’s gonna change what I am
I was a young troubadour, when I rode in on a song
I’ll be an old troubadour, when I’m gone

Well, the truth about a mirror
Is that a damned old mirror
Don’t really tell the whole truth
It don’t show what’s deep inside
Or read between the lines
And it’s really no reflection of my youth

Sometimes I feel like Jesse James
Still trying to make a name
Knowing nothing’s gonna change what I am
I was a young troubadour, when I rode in on a song
I’ll be an old troubadour, when I’m gone
I was a young troubadour, when I rode in on a song
And I’ll be an old troubadour, when I’m gone

I’ll be an old troubadour, when I’m gone

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