It is odd that I was pondering a blog about George Strait just this past Friday. I had been going back and forth on the angle until late Sunday night/early Monday morning, when I caught a re-run of a tribute to Straight on CMT where he is being honored as the ACM Artist of the Decade. Granted it originally aired sometime back in May and I am not completely sure where I was and what I was doing, but seeing this show pretty much made it a have to do deal, and so here I am with a few thoughts…
Where to begin is the only real question I have about writing something about George Strait and his music. In a country music world of today and even the last ten to twenty years, where so much of what is coming out Nashville is much more pop music then truly country, it is good to some artist remain true. Strait has done a wide range of country songs through out a career that spans around thirty years and that is rapidly approaching a sixty number one hits, the one thing you can always count on is it will be a true country rendition of the song.
The music he has done is great and that goes without saying. But in the tradition of the really great country music tradition (Johnny and Willie come mind) he can come out a stage in his hat and jeans, stand at the microphone with his guitar and sing away. That is really saying something given that so many have to do an elaborate show with pyrotechnics and backup dancers and ad nauseam to entertain the audience and keep them captivated.
Beyond the music though is the genuine person that Strait is. He sings about small towns, hard luck on the road, and certainly makes us live the cowboy life that so many of us long for on occasion through his songs about the rodeo and such. So many of those songs take me right out there and often when I am in doubt about getting out in the heat to work the horses a little George and I am ready to get going. Strait is not just the cowboy on stage mind you, having worked on the family ranch growing up, he has a degree in agriculture and back in the early days he ran the ranch to pay his way.
To this day, he still occasionally can be seen doing some team roping at the odd rodeo here and there. Additionally, he along with a now deceased brother sponsor the George Strait Team Roping competition annually. Lastly, being a big fan of the National Finals Rodeo held early in December of each year, I can say I have not seen one that did not Straight sitting in the audience several nights.
To list off his songs that I like and why would take more time that I have between now and the dawn, but let me say that near the top of list is Amarillo by Morning. That could very well by my favorite song of all time and despite what some may say about another song, I think it is heads above the consummate country western song of all time for sure. It has it all, rodeo, loner type that has had love and lost, hoping for just that next go around to win the money, traveling around following the circuit. Okay, technically we do not have momma, a train, or a dog. On the hand, without a rodeo and horses how could you be the consummate country western song either?
A second one I will mention, only briefly is Troubadour. It is truly an autobiographical song and as long as he has been going, added to the point he made about not planning on retiring anytime soon means that he will likely be an old singer of songs when he finally does go by the way side. To that, I am greatly relieved, as I think Strait is officially on my must see list one of these days sometime soon.
Interestingly enough, he is kicking off a fall concert series in September. That is great news and even better news is the at the second stop on I think September tenth is in Lexington, Kentucky. Clearly I have not gotten around to see enough live music this spring and summer so far, but getting good seats to a George Strait concert would make up for a lot of missed music otherwise.