10 Songs, 33 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The theme of The Road Less Traveled is contentment. And why not? Strait begins his fourth decade as a performer with his patented brand of high-quality country more popular than ever. “She’ll Leave You With A Smile” floats by on an irresistibly catchy hook that Strait delivers with trademark charm and poise, while “Run” shows his ability to pull off a grandiose ballad without ever seeming like a schmuck. Strait’s cover of Rodney Crowell’s “Stars on the Water” is down-home singalong that would work equally well at a summer cookout or at line dancing night at the local beer hall. While “The Middle of Nowhere” is a beautifully communicated image of heartache, “Living and Living Well,” “Good Time Charley’s,” and “The Real Thing” all extol the virtues of life’s simple pleasures. The album culminates with “My Life’s Been Grand,” a stately rumination on fulfillment. Merle Haggard first sang it in 1986, as he was entering his twilight years, and now, in 2001, Strait has the depth of experience to impart it like a country equivalent to Sinatra’s “My Way.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

The theme of The Road Less Traveled is contentment. And why not? Strait begins his fourth decade as a performer with his patented brand of high-quality country more popular than ever. “She’ll Leave You With A Smile” floats by on an irresistibly catchy hook that Strait delivers with trademark charm and poise, while “Run” shows his ability to pull off a grandiose ballad without ever seeming like a schmuck. Strait’s cover of Rodney Crowell’s “Stars on the Water” is down-home singalong that would work equally well at a summer cookout or at line dancing night at the local beer hall. While “The Middle of Nowhere” is a beautifully communicated image of heartache, “Living and Living Well,” “Good Time Charley’s,” and “The Real Thing” all extol the virtues of life’s simple pleasures. The album culminates with “My Life’s Been Grand,” a stately rumination on fulfillment. Merle Haggard first sang it in 1986, as he was entering his twilight years, and now, in 2001, Strait has the depth of experience to impart it like a country equivalent to Sinatra’s “My Way.”

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