Strait and Narrow

Twang – George Strait
Wouldn’t you just love to be George Strait? The unofficial king of country, and certainly the undisputed king of Texas, is back at it with Twang.

At 57, Strait has sold more than 67 million albums in three decades on the charts, garnering 57 No. 1 singles along the way. Like its predecessors, Strait’s 26th album is being released on MCA Nashville and is produced by the legendary Tony Brown.

This 13-track project put Strait to work doing something he hasn’t done much of – penning songs. George co-wrote three tracks, including the first single, “Living for the Night.” Songwriting must’ve been contagious in the Strait household, as George’s son, Bubba, was a cowriter on the aforementioned single. Bubba wrote “Arkansas Dave” all by his lonesome.

“When I was putting this album together I knew that I wanted to put some original material on it,” Strait says. “That’s something I hadn’t done in a good while.”

He takes on Texas bluesman Delbert McClinton’s “Same Kind of Crazy.” Brown credits the idea to record the song to Strait. “It was a fun song to do, and we did it in one take,” Strait says, citing how great the studio band sounds on the cut.

“George is having as much fun as ever making records,” Brown says of his longtime recording collaborator. “You can hear it, too. I think this album shows more range than usual, yet everything he does comes so natural to him. I do think this is going to be one of those albums people hold up as one of his high-water moments.”
Grade: A+

My Tribute To Chet Atkins –
Steve Wariner, C.G.P.

“Chet [Atkins] was an incredible person who gave me so many opportunities. I’m proud to call him my friend,” says the uber-talented Steve Wariner. Signed by Atkins to RCA Records in the late 1970s, Wariner pays proper homage to his musical hero, who passed away at the age of 77 in 2001. “You can’t out-Chet Chet,” Wariner says of the late Country Music Hall of Fame member and legendary guitarist who was his friend and colleague. This 11-song collection on Wariner’s own SelecTone Records showcases the Indiana native’s fleet-fingered prowess. In fact, the abbreviation “c.g.p.” stands for “certified guitar player,” a title Atkins would bestow on only four guitar pickers: Tommy Emmanuel, John Knowles, the late Jerry Reed and Wariner. Prime cuts include “Leavin’ Luttrell,” “Tuned In” and “Silent Strings,” which conveys the deep sense of loss at the passing of the original “c.g.p.”
Grade: B+

Justin Moore
Newcomer Justin Moore hails from Poyen, Ark., population 272. “It’s a dirt road, a fishin’ pole, a cold beer sittin’ on a tailgate, an old church, a kind word, it’s where I was born and raised, Heaven Ain’t That Far Away,” Moore sings on this debut CD. In Poyen there are no street lights, mostly dirt roads, a florist in an old trailer and one filling station; however, as Justin sings in the hit single “Small Town USA,” it’s where “everybody knows me and I know them and that’s the way I believe we were supposed to live.” This project is co-produced by Alan Jackson’s producer, Keith Stegall. Good songs include the hilarious “Back That Thing Up” and “Hank It.”
Grade: B-

Sound Bites

·Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson is set to release her new album, Break Up, in collaboration with singer/songwriter Pete Yorn this month.

·The Backstreet Boys will release their ninth album, This Is Us on Oct. 6

·Singer-actor Marc Anthony bought part of the Miami Dolphins less than a month after owner Stephen M. Ross sold another portion of the NFL team to singer Gloria Estefan and her husband, producer Emilio Estefan.

·Singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson will be honored by BMI as a music icon during the music licensing organization’s country awards on Nov. 10.