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Record Review - 3 February 19 2003

If there is one word to describe George Strait it would have to be "consistent." His music is consistently good, consistently safe and consistently successful. Incredibly, the only male solo artist in the world to earn more gold and platinum records than Strait is Elvis Presley.

The deceptively titled For the Last Time ... captures a few of the high points in Strait's 20-plus year career. It's not Strait's farewell recording, but rather it documents the final concert held in Houston's Astrodome. It's also Strait's first live album, featuring his amazing Ace in the Hole Band. The 16 tracks cover a lot of ground, from Strait's early hits such as "Amarillo by Morning" to "She'll Leave You With a Smile," from his 2001 studio release, The Road Less Traveled. And with the exception of an unnecessary speech by former president George Bush, For the Last Time is a nice sampling of Strait's brand of mainstream country that never gets too sentimental or too formulaic.

George Strait plays the Arena at Gwinnett Center Fri., Feb. 21.