GEORGE STRAIT> Twang

george strait

GEORGE STRAIT

Twang

(MCA NASHVILLE)

★★★★☆

It makes sense that George Strait is wearing his black cowboy hat on the cover of his new CD Twang. With country music currently represented by a girly singer/songwriter, Hannah Montana and the artist-formerly-known-as-Hootie, Strait, black hat and all, is back to bring a little gravity to the situation.

The debut single, “Living For The Night,” is emblematic of his subtle magic. Like a seasoned character actor, Strait fully-embodies a desperate single guy, whose only solace comes from the “neon arms,” of a honkytonk. The tune, co-written by the singer, traffics in pop chord changes, but its sentiments are purely country. Toss in the lowdown title track, a fireball from loose cannon Delbert McClinton (“Same Kind Of Crazy”), and you have the makings of one hell of a party album. Until you get to the incandescent “Where Have I Been All My Life?” Balancing appreciation for existence, with sorrow at how fast it goes, (“My folks sure got old in a hurry”), this weeper will have you reeling in recognition.

Genres be damned. This is another stone-cold classic from King George. Now, if only his courtiers would pay attention. Then the whole darn kingdom of country music would be in much better shape.