George Strait

Love Is Everything

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George Strait decided he'd retire from the road once he turned 60, so he launched a farewell tour in 2013 that is scheduled to run into 2014. Hanging up his concert hat doesn't necessarily indicate that he's taking a break from recording, so there's no suggestion that Love Is Everything -- his 28th studio album, released in May of 2013, just as the farewell tour began -- will be his final recording. True enough, Love Is Everything does not have the gravity that's required of a final statement, as it glides by with the natural ease that has been Strait's signature since the start. This light touch combined with Strait's unapologetic slowing gait -- there aren't nearly as many breezy numbers as there were last time around on 2011's Here for a Good Time -- make for an appealingly mellow little record, one heavy on ballads ranging from such sweet pieces of sunburnt pop as "Sittin' on the Fence" to such old-fashioned romantic crooning such as "I Just Can't Go on Dying Like This," which would have felt equally comfortable in the hands of either George Jones or Frank Sinatra. Strait can still kick up a little dust -- "The Night Is Young" is a good Texas two-step, "I Thought I Heard My Heart Sing" nearly bounces along on the giddiness of its melody -- but he's not so concerned in exercising that swing muscle all that often. He'd rather lay back and sings songs of love won and lost, and even if that means Love Is Everything isn't necessarily ambitious, it is remarkably satisfying. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi