One Step at a Time
George Strait’s calling card has always been well-crafted, no-frills country music and with One Step at a Time he finally caught some flak from diehard fans for caving into pop trends. But though there might be some truth to the idea that “True,” “Why Not Now,” and “You Haven’t Left Me Yet” sound more like Tim McGraw songs than George Strait songs, no one can say Strait doesn’t sing them well. Besides, in between the pop tracks One Step at a Time offers some of the most old-school material of Strait’s career, including the stately title tune propelled by the low thrum of an upright bass. Meanwhile, “I Just Want to Dance With You,” “We Really Shouldn’t Be Doing This”, and the beautiful “Maria” (written by Robert Earl Keen) all display subtle touches of Mexican balladry without ever becoming corny or overpowering. And while it’s true this is the first Strait album to contain none of his signature western swing, “Remember the Alamo” stands as one of the all-time great Texas love songs. Anyone who is worried about the quality of Strait’s craft need only listen to “Neon Row,” an example of Strait’s unparalleled ability to tell a story of heartbreak with graceful detail and a modest touch.