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George Strait

Carrying Your Love With Me – 1997 (MCA)

Reviewed by Don Yates

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CDs by George Strait

By maintaining his rock-solid country integrity and continuing to hone his skills as a supreme interpretive singer, George Strait has managed to ride high on the country charts for over 15 years while producing a steady stream of quality records. His latest album is another fine addition to aremarkable body of work.

He once again proves he's a masterful ballad singer with hard-country ballads like the title song, "She'll Leave You With A Smile" and the Vern Gosdin heartache classic, "Today My World Slipped Away." He sublimely balances country and pop sensibilities with the gentle swing of "One Night At A Time" and even convincingly waxes philosophical on the Bobby Braddock-penned ballad, "The Nerve." Strait also confidently handles uptempo songs like the boisterous Wayne Kemp barroom hit from 1968, "Won't You Come Home (And Talk To A Stranger)" and the swinging honky-tonk of a new Harlan Howard song, "I've Got A Funny Feeling."

Strait and co-producer Tony Brown have once again kept Strait grounded in the fiddle-and-steel verities of hard country while producing an album sounding utterly contemporary. When the country charts are stuffed with disposable songs from one-hit wonders, it heartening to see Strait continuing to produce popular country music that's made to last.