By LINDSEY BROWN
George Strait is not just a pioneer in country music, but a pioneer in the music industry. He has 60 number one singles, which is more than any artist in any genre of music. Strait has been in the music business for more than 30 years. He has won the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year three times, he has been nominated 16 times for the Grammys and won one for Country Album with his album “Troubadour” in 2009. His first album, “Strait Country,” came out in 1981, and he just released his thirtieth studio album, “Honky Tonk Time Machine.”
George Strait had quite the life before he stepped into the spotlight. He was in the Army until he was honorably discharged in 1975. Strait also has a degree in Agriculture from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. He is a real cowboy, who loves ranching and competing in roping competitions on a rodeo team. He is a member of PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association).
Strait’s career is not just limited to music either; he has spent time in the acting world as well. In 1992, the movie “Pure Country” was released. George Strait’s character, Wyatt “Dusty” Chandler, was a country artist who becomes disenchanted by his tour, and abandons it to go back to his roots for a bit.
While Strait was hesitant at first about acting, the script spoke to him, and he was able to relate to the character. In an interview Strait said, “To be totally truthful, I’ve experienced the kind of burnout this guy has in the movie.” Strait’s hit “Heartland” came from the best-selling soundtrack from the film.
The Cowboy Rides Away tour was supposed to be Strait’s last tour back in 2013. The tour began in Lubbock, Texas and ended in Arlington, Texas in 2014. Strait incorporated many a country star on his last tour. Martina McBride, Jason Aldean, Ronnie Dunn, Miranda Lambert, Vince Gill, Luke Bryan and Faith Hill all made appearances. Strait seemed to want to go out with a bang with his last tour. Strait said, “I’m not retiring, just not going on tour anymore.”
Since 2016, Strait has been a steady performer in Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena. However, in 2019 he booked shows outside of Las Vegas and in a press release, he explained that the fans are who he is paying attention to. “We said from the beginning that we would listen to the fans and follow what they want,” said Strait.
Strait’s new album that came out on March 29 has already made number one on the Top Country Albums, and it makes his twenty-seventh number one album in his career. Each one is a classic George Strait song and any fan would expect nothing less from the successful cowboy. He is even doing a cover of Johnny Paycheck’s “Old Violin”. My favorite of the bunch is “God and Country Music”. Strait explains that while the world is quickly changing, God and country music will never really change, “It’s a dance between the sin and the salvation, come hell or high water there’s two things still worth saving”.
It is comforting to know that with country music making its way and the sound evolving as times goes on; that George Strait will always stay true to himself. He has had so much success just being himself in the music industry. I wonder how many other artists can say the same.