George Strait keeps it comfortable on 40th album

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Grade • B-

CD • With his 40th (!) studio album, "Love is Everything," now in stores, George Strait is not one to surprise us, especially as he turned 61 the same week the album came out. There are no songs flavored with EDM, or songs with LL Cool J that could embarrass him.

There is an easy-going comfort in Strait that makes him perfect for quiet nights at home, but you will not hear this album playing loudly at tailgate parties at Kenny Chesney or Florida Georgia Line concerts. Strait wrote or co-wrote four of the album's 13 songs, working again with his son Bubba (!), longtime writing collaborator Dean Dillon, and producer Tony Brown, who has been with him since 1992 (!). With his traditional western-swing accompaniment of acoustic guitar, tasteful telecaster, honky-tonk piano, plaintive pedal steel and fiddle, Strait risks nothing.

But when one has a voice that is deeper than the Marianas Trench and just the right amount of twang, in the end, one doesn't need exclamation points to prove one's appeal. —

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