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George Strait

Blue Clear Sky – 1996 (MCA)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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CDs by George Strait

After "Check Yes or No" and the title single, George Strait may appear to be giving in to the Hot New Country trend. Not so, however, as the rest of this excellent disc reveals. Strait covers all the bases, from the Mark Chesnutt-co-written western swing of "I Ain't Never Seen No One Like You," to the catchy surefire hit, "Do the Right Thing." Those three songs are the only uptempo tunes on the entire album, however, whose strength is definitely its ballads. "Carried Away" is a simply beautiful song in the same vein as "I Cross My Heart" that perfectly expresses the joy of being in love. Easily the best song on the disc is "I Can Still Make Cheyenne," whose gorgeous melody and twin fiddles recall such early Strait songs as "Amarillo by Morning" and "Marina del Rey." Strait has always been one of country's most consistent artists, but with this album he borders on spectacular.