George Strait's "She'll Leave You with A Smile:" A Post Break Up Song

About the song

Ah, yes, George Strait’s “She’ll Leave You With a Smile”. Now that’s a song that truly captures the essence of country music. Released in September 2002, it became the third and final single from Strait’s acclaimed album, The Road Less Traveled. While Strait himself has always been known for his smooth baritone and uncluttered brand of country, “She’ll Leave You With a Smile” offers a touch more than just the usual heartache ballads.

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The song’s origins lie with songwriters Odie Blackmon and Jay Knowles. Blackmon, a seasoned Nashville songwriter, is known for penning hits for artists like Reba McEntire and Alan Jackson. Knowles, on the other hand, is perhaps less prolific but certainly contributed a gem with “She’ll Leave You With a Smile”.

The beauty of the song lies in its bittersweet nature. It’s a story about a relationship on the rocks, where the narrator reflects on a love that seems destined to fail. There’s a sense of acceptance in the lyrics, a recognition that sometimes letting go can be the kindest thing to do. But woven throughout is this undercurrent of hope, a belief that even in the face of heartbreak, the memory of a good relationship can leave a smile.

Strait’s masterful delivery elevates the song further. His signature smooth vocals perfectly convey the bittersweet emotions at play. The understated production, with its gentle guitar work and subtle steel guitar accents, allows the lyrics and Strait’s voice to take center stage.

“She’ll Leave You With a Smile” wasn’t necessarily a chart-topping hit, reaching number 13 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles and Tracks charts. However, it resonated deeply with fans, becoming a staple on Strait’s tours and a favorite among country music enthusiasts. It’s a song that acknowledges the complexities of love and loss, offering a poignant reminder that sometimes the most lasting impression a relationship leaves is a bittersweet smile.

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Interestingly, there’s a bit of a backstory to the song’s release. An earlier version of “She’ll Leave You With a Smile” actually appeared on Strait’s 1997 album Carrying Your Love With Me. This version featured a slightly different arrangement and a touch more tempo. While both versions are excellent, the 2002 rendition on The Road Less Traveled is the one that garnered wider recognition and became the definitive version for most listeners.

So, when you hit play on “She’ll Leave You With a Smile”, prepare to be transported to a world of bittersweet emotions, expertly delivered by the legendary George Strait. It’s a song that lingers long after the last note fades, a testament to the enduring power of country music storytelling.

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Lyrics

“She’ll Leave You With A Smile”

At first she’s gonna come on strong
Like she’ll love you all night long
Like it’s going out of style
Then she’ll leave you with a smile

You’re gonna give her all your heart
Then she’ll tear your world apart
You’re gonna cry a little while
Still she’ll leave you with a smile

Well you can’t help but wonder
Why you can’t help but love her
But you can’t help but love her
And all that hurtin’
Was more than worth it
It’s written all over your face

One day you’ll pass her on the street
With that guy you used to be
She’ll say hello and walk on by
Then she’ll leave you with a smile

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Well you can’t help but wonder
Why you can’t help but love her
But you can’t help but love her
And all that hurtin’
Was more than worth it
It’s written all over your face

At first she’s gonna come on strong
Like she’ll love you all night long
Like it’s going out of style
Then she’ll leave you with a smile

Ah, she’s gonna love you
She’s gonna leave you with a smile
Ah, she’s gonna love you
She’s gonna leave you with a smile