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George Strait Passes The Torch

strait 120x120 George Strait Passes The TorchOur look at the closing lines of the week’s biggest new-music reviews continues with a roundup of reactions to the 26th studio album by country stalwart George Strait, Twang:


• ”He returns to some gritty honky-tonk later on, but not enough. The most impressive part of the album is that Strait co-wrote three songs—the first time he’s written since his 1982 debut album. He penned them with his son, Bubba, a budding talent who receives a sole writing credit on ‘Arkansas Dave,’ a spare, folkie track with a cowboy feel that his dad brings out beautifully. There are some great things here, but not likely enough for Strait to win another Grammy for best country album, which he did last year. Let’s hope that next time he really brings the twang. [Steve Morse, Boston Globe]


• “Twang’s highlight, ‘Arkansas Dave,’ has the loping beat, acoustic framework and twist-ending tale of an old gunslinger reminiscent of a Kenny Rogers or Johnny Cash hit from the 1970s. In his straightforward manner Strait is as convincing on a story song like Arkansas Dave, written solely by his son, as he is sincere on wise ballads like ‘Where Have I Been All My Life,’ a track that notches the passage of time without lapsing into modern country’s penchant for sappy sentimentality. Maybe this type of quality control is what allows Strait to buck the odds that say his kind has no place on shallow mainstream radio.” [Howard Cohen, Miami Herald]


• ”Because he knows exactly how to stretch his Wrangler-clad legs without spooking the herd, most vividly here by kicking up his heels on Delbert McClinton’s ‘Same Kind of Crazy” and flinging himself into a full-throated and faithful interpretation of mariachi standard ‘El Rey’ en español. And because he’s taken a hands-on approach for the first time since 1982, co-writing three of these tracks alongside his son, Bubba: the lackadaisical lead single ‘Living for the Night,’ a lonesome two-step called ‘Out of Sight Out of Mind,’ and the clever chorus twist of ‘He’s Got That Something Special.’ Do these self-penned songs explode like bottle rockets in the vast West Texas sky? No. They sound like George Strait songs, of course. But look, the dude’s cut 57 No. 1 hits. Would you change your tune?” [Whitney Pastorek, EW]

 

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