Entertainment Weekly - 11/16/01, p.173
"...Elegant, elegiac, and very, very smooth going down..." - Rating: A-
Personnel: George Strait (vocals, acoustic guitar); Randy Scruggs (acoustic guitar); Steve Gibson, Chris Leuzinger, Brent Mason (electric guitar); Paul Franklin (steel guitar); Stuart Duncan (mandolin, fiddle); Steve Conn (accordion); Steve Nathan (keyboards); Michael Rhodes (bass); Eddie Bayers (drums); Wes Hightower, Llana Manis (background vocals).
Recorded at Ocean Way, Nashville, Tennessee.
George Strait emerged in the '80s as one of country music's "new traditionalists," determined to save the genre from pop excess. Over the years, he's remained true to this credo, maintaining a consistently straightforward, honest style. On THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED he continues to make pure, uncomplicated music full of earnest emotions and powerful writing. Strait's choice of material alone is a testament to the authenticity of his aesthetic. He digs deep for an '80s Merle Haggard composition ("My Life's Been Good"), taps fellow new traditionalist Rodney Crowell for the roadhouse-rocking, New Orleans-themed "Stars on the Water," and offers a convincing take on "The Real Thing," a honky-tonker by "Wild Thing" author Chip Taylor that sings the praises of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. Even when Strait throws in a modern production touch such as the subtle vocoder effect (a la Cher's "Believe") on the aforementioned Crowell tune, it's done with such finesse that it doesn't damage his credibility a bit.