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George Strait

The Road Less Traveled – 2001 (MCA Nashville)

Reviewed by Tom Netherland

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CDs by George Strait

Consistency marks George Strait's career. Armed with a vast catalog that wavers little in quality or variety, he's been criticized on occasion for not taking chances. But no smart gambler ditches a winning hand.

Well, Strait holds yet another moneymaker on his 30th album. Though barely 30 minutes and 10 tracks long, no one makes more with so little than this Texas talent.

Gifted with a knack for choosing just the right songs, Strait and co-producer Tony Brown rope 'n' wrangle a batch of songs from which not one sorry sound comes. No kidding. Even when they quizzically tamper with Strait's million-dollar voice via digital wizardry on "Stars on the Water," they don't miss. Still, what's up with that? Elsewhere, as on the first single, "Run," Strait wears as comfortably as an old pair of Justin's. Also, as he has in the past, Mr. Consistency digs deep into country's past to uncover a dusty gem with Jerry Chesnut's "Good Time Charley's," a Top 5 hit for Del Reeves in 1969.

With each step taken, each song sung, this hall of famer-in-the-making shows no signs of breakage. Oh, and just for the record, he's still as country as they come.