George Strait: Classic Christmas

George Strait has one of the purest, most recognizable voices in a genre not known for that type of clarity, and he’s one of those singers who likely doesn’t need much help (read: pitch correction) in the studio. If you’re a fan of Strait or of country music in general, you’re going to love this guy’s straight-ahead, twangy approach to classic Christmas fare, aptly titled Classic Christmas. For the rest of you, you may be left with the feeling that these takes are a bit vanilla and even a tad mundane. As holiday albums go, though, you sure could do a lot worse. After all, Mr. Strait is a living legend at this point, and his voice alone is reason to pick this one up. Standout tracks are “We Three Kings” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” (MCA Nashville)

George Strait MySpace Page


Lee Ann Womack: Call Me Crazy

Lee Ann Womack has been around for a while on the country radio scene, and while we can poke holes in the genre all day long, we can’t poke anything at someone who has a really good voice and who picks good songs to record. A lot of the music coming out of Music Row these days is absolute schlock, but Womack and her team have done a nice job of finding good material that suits her as an artist on her latest album, Call Me Crazy. In fact, if you take the twang out of Womack’s voice, a lot of the songs more closely resemble timeless country/pop along the lines of Crystal Gayle or Linda Ronstadt, especially on the likes of “Either Way” or “I Found It in You.” But she also has a Dolly Parton-ish throwback thing going on, particularly on lead single “Last Call,” “Solitary Thinkin’” or “The Bees.” Producer Tony Brown adds some nice touches and some of George Strait’s band on Call Me Crazy, and while there are no magical tracks such as Lee Ann’s smash “I Hope You Dance,” this is a more complete collection of good country music. (MCA)

Lee Ann Womack MySpace Page