Entertainment Weekly - 4/26/96, p.59
"...For a guy who's never relied much on emotion, Strait finally sounds like he's living his lyrics." - Rating: A
Q - 8/96, p.1283 Stars
- Good - "...Tuneful like Garth Brooks but a little more down-home,...and equally capable of being melancholic like Dwight Yokum,...Strait is your country all rounder....when it comes to manly melancholia, country fans still have no need of Morrissey."
Personnel: George Strait (vocals); Biff Watson (acoustic guitar, Wurlitzer); Steve Gibson, Brent Mason (acoustic & electric guitars); Paul Franklin (steel guitar); Stuart Duncan (fiddle); Matt Rollings (piano, Wurlitzer); Farrell Morris (vibraphone); Glenn Worf (bass); Eddie Bayers (drums); Curtis Young, Liana Manis (background vocals).
Recorded at Emerald Studios, Nashville, Tennessee.
All tracks have been digitally mastered using HDCD technology.
BLUE CLEAR SKY won the 1996 Country Music Association Award for Album Of The Year, and George Strait won the C.M.A. award for Male Vocalist Of The Year.
George Strait, one of the most widely admired and emulated singers in modern country, opens up emotionally on BLUE CLEAR SKY. It's a rangy album that touches on several different tempos and styles, from the classically weepy "I Can Still Make Cheyenne" to the playfully swingy "I Ain't Never Seen No One Like You."
With his stately voice buttressed by a versatile band of backing musicians, Strait shows he can still whip out classic country sounds like the frisky "Do The Right Thing" and the introspective "King Of The Mountain." But he closes with the refreshing "Need I Say More," a piano-based lounge number that seems to have been inspired by his duet with Frank Sinatra on 1995's STRAIT OUT OF THE BOX. As Strait croons "let me show you what true love's all about," one can picture him clad in a tuxedo underneath his trademark 10-gallon chapeau. It's a fitting image for one of Nashville's classier acts.
Personnel: George Strait (vocals); Steve Gibson (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, gut-string guitar); Biff Watson (acoustic guitar, Wurlitzer organ); Brent Mason (electric guitar, gut-string guitar); Paul Franklin (steel guitar); Stuart Duncan (fiddle); Matt Rollings (piano, Wurlitzer organ); Farrell Morris (vibraphone); Eddie Bayers (drums); Curtis Young, Linda Manis (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Chuck Ainlay.
Recording information: Emerald Studios, Nashville, TN.
Photographer: Mark Tucker .
Unknown Contributor Role: Graham Lewis.
Country's most consistent traditionalist, George Strait, scores again with Blue Clear Sky, one of the best albums of his 15-year career. Blue Clear Sky shows off Strait's range with a well-chosen sweep of material. "Rockin' in the Arms of Your Memory" and "I'd Just as Soon Go" prove that well-written, mainstream adult ballads can carry an insinuating strength when performed with the subtle grace of a master. On "Need I Say More," Strait reveals again that he's also a wonderful jazz-tinged crooner. "I Ain't Never Seen No One Like You" swings with the joyful ease of a youngster on a backyard set, and "Do the Right Thing" gives Strait the chance to show casually that he can navigate an eccentric meter, masking how difficult the inventive arrangement might have been for a lesser vocalist. Strait, an experienced calf-roping competitor, also includes "I Can Still Make Cheyenne." Instead of creating a deadly, dramatic situation or joking about the macho manner of the lifestyle, the song uses a telephone call between a struggling rider and his lover to convey the dreams, the fears, the financial hardships, and the difficulties of life on the road that surround the sport. Just like the singer, the song relies on quietly reserved emotion to convey enormously important sentiments. ~ Michael McCall