In this week's episode we're featuring another ultra-consistent album from George Strait: "Beyond The Blue Neon" (1989). Over Strait's career (especially in his 80s and 90s heyday) his output was dizzyingly reliable. Just enough modernity in it's production to appeal to country radio but music stubbornly rooted in Strait's Texas country heritage. That's what you got. And fans loved it, helping Strait move over fifty million records in his first twenty years alone. Johnny Gimble was dragging the bow on fiddle on most all of George Strait's hits between 1983 through the early 90s, and he's in his element on "Beyond The Blue Neon". "Neon" has a distinct western swing flavour which suits Gimble (a former Texas Playboy) down to a T. Something about the clean-cut Strait leaning up against a pool table and the title track's lyric "a hole in the wall from some free for all" (as if King George would ever get into a fight) seems incongruous but highlights are plentiful: the cleverly worded "Hollywood Squares" swings right into "Ace In The Hole" and several years before Diamond Rio hit with it, "Oh Me, Oh My Sweet Baby" is given the sterling Strait treatment.
- If That Ain't Country
- George Strait - Beyond The Blue Neon
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