Arts

New Country: George Strait — ‘Honky Tonk Time Machine’

George Strait — Honky Tonk Time Machine

Are you a country music fan, listening to country radio all day, but still nostalgic for actual country music? Fear not, your prayers have been answered. As he croons in one of the many satisfying tracks, “God and Country Music,” you find ’em when you need ’em.

Although he has officially retired from touring, country legend George Strait is still making records. This week, he released Honky Tonk Time Machine, a return to the artistic top of the genre for the guy whose 2004 ‘Best of’ album was titled “50 Number Ones.” Strait is country music’s most consistent act, putting out smooth, smart, traditional songs for four decades. That continues with this new album.

Strait is known more for his interpretation than his songwriting, but he’s co-written 8 of the 13 tunes here. Two of the best are “Sometimes Love” (co-written with his son, Bubba, and Dean Dillon) — a romantic, sober look at love that doesn’t quit, and “Código” — a jaunty song that chirps along, comparing a lover to a love of tequila: “Baby, just like you it’s something new I just had to try / I didn’t plan on it, but a sip and you’ll want it — it’s a beautiful high.”

Another highlight is the duet, “Sing One With Willie,” a longtime coming love song between two old Texas legends. He may be having fun by calling this album Honky Tonk Time Machine, but Strait doesn’t minimize his point of view as a grandfather at a time when country music is so thoroughly dominated by young artists. Like an old violin, he sounds better and better the more he makes music. Like the honky tonk on the cover — Austin, Texas’s Broken Spoke — the man is a classic.

It’s his 30th studio LP. Thank you, King George.

To purchase this album on iTunes, click here.

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