Clint Black burst onto the country music scene more than a decade ago, riding a wave of hook-laden, accessible, pure country hits in the George Strait vein that made him a favorite both with fans and

Clint Black burst onto the country music scene more than a decade ago, riding a wave of hook-laden, accessible, pure country hits in the George Strait vein that made him a favorite both with fans and country radio. As his second hits package proves, Black has matured mightily as both a vocal stylist and—more important—as a songwriter, expanding his lyrical subject matter well beyond traditional country music themes while maintaining the licks that brought him to the party. Black proves a thoughtful lyricist on such cuts as the insightful "The Shoes You're Wearing" and steel-drenched honky-tonk lament "Nothing's News," but he still parties with gusto on "Nothin' but the Taillights" and the white-boy funk of "Been There." Less edgy but very well-written are ballads like the sweet "Something That We Do" and the sweeping "When I Said I Do." Black generously offers four new songs, including another duet with wife Lisa Hartman Black and a reworked "Put Yourself in My Shoes." An impressive collection from a still-evolving artist—and a no-brainer for big holiday sales.—RW