Somewhere Down in Texas

Studio Album by released in 2005
Somewhere Down in Texas's tracklist:
If the Whole World Was a Honky Tonk
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Somewhere Down in Texas
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The Seashores of Old Mexico
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You'll Be There
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High Tone Woman
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Good News, Bad News (Duet With Lee Ann Womack)
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Oh, What a Perfect Day
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Texas
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Ready for the End of the World
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She Let Herself Go
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By the Light of a Burning Bridge
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Somewhere Down in Texas review

For the past two and a half decades there has been one constant in country music: the presence of George Strait hit records. From his first Number One song Fool Hearted Memory in early 1982 through his 51st I Hate Everything and right up to today’s You’ll Be There, the words "George Strait" and "country hit" have been synonymous. In fact, he has scored more Number One songs than any other single artist in history and has sold over 62 million records in the meantime amassing 28 platinum or multi-platinum discs – more than any other country artist. He cares most about God, his family, his fans, and his music. Somewhere Down in Texas is by far one of the best to date by George Strait. There is not a song on this album that isn't flat out terrific. The musical talents of his band are evident, and listening to the steel guitar (not to mention a sort of duel between the lead guitar and the piano) will give you chills. Strait's session players – organ and steel guitar, for example – fill the space around his elegant vocals with taste and grace, supplying an audible teardrop and an anguished sigh.

On Somewhere Down in Texas, many of George Strait's songs are semi-autobiographical and ring with authenticity. The title track portrays a man who's weary of the road and yearns to stay home with his family; Texas salutes the state that made him what he is; and You'll Be There, the heartfelt single that talks of meeting a loved one in the afterlife, likely hits a nerve with the singer, who lost a child some years ago. Strait also does well with the terrible twins of country dance-hall fare, misery and grief – particularly on the honky-tonk weeper Ready for the End of the World and the killer ballad Good News, Bad News, a duet with Lee Ann Womack, who co-wrote the tune with Dean Dillon and Dale Dodson. Womack sings rings around her fellow Texan, giving her reading of this exquisite song of heartbreak an emotional resonance that sticks in the mind long after it's over. But Strait conveys a stoic acceptance of a tragically missed chance at love, and it plays just right for a cowboy antihero.

It's a completely satisfying listen thanks to the strong material, sustained mood, and Strait's unhurried, confident performance. These have been hallmarks of Strait's work throughout the decades, and they haven't let him down yet, nearly 30 years and 30 albums into his career, as Somewhere Down in Texas proves. The music here is great. This is the best modern country has to offer. This album includes all of Strait's influences and a number of others that you may not have heard of. This is a beautiful blend of swing and traditional influences are a treat to the ear. Every time old George refers to his heroes by name – Haggard, Nelson, and Jones – you know time will show him to be, if not precisely in their league, certainly a close second. For Strait fans, the album Somewhere Down in Texas is merely confirmation of what they already know – this man is awesome. If you are not yet a Strait fan, this one will definitely convert you.