If it gets better than this, I haven’t yet found it…
A few years back at a show in Las Vegas, George Strait decided to honor the great Merle Haggardwhile playing a guitar modeled after the one Merle himself used.
He broke out the all-time classic “Mama Tried” (is it even a Merle tribute if you don’t sing it?) along with the fan-favorite “Working Man’s Blues.” Safe to say, the crowd was LOVING it.
“Mama Tried” was written by Merle and served as the title track for his 1968 album. It was his fifth career number one, spending four weeks on top of the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.
“Working Man’s Blues”was released in 1969 as the second single from his A Portrait Of Merle Haggard album and also went to number one, the 7th of his 36 career chart toppers.
I sure wouldn’t mind a George Strait Sings Merle album or something like that… just saying.
A tip of the cap to both of these legends… country music owes them more than what can be paid.
He also honored The Hag in 2018 with a cover of “Sing Me Back Home” in New Orleans.
George Strait Says He’s Working On A New Album
George Strait recently sat down with Cowboys & Indians magazine, and he revealed a glorious little secret… he has a new album in the works.
He says he’s already working on narrowing down the tracklist, so it sounds like it could be coming sooner rather than later:
“I like making records and plan on doing another one soon. I’m narrowing down my song choices now. I’ve always said I’m a melody guy. A great melody can sell a song the best.
A great lyric with a lousy melody maybe not so much, but a great lyric along with a great melody is obviously what you’re looking to create.”
He also added he’s kept a great relationship with his longtime writer Dean Dillon, who has helped pen many of his biggest hits, like “Unwound,” “The Chair,” “Nobody in His Right Mind Would Have Left Her” and “Ocean Front Property,” just to name a few.
So it sounds like more of that is in our near future too (thank God):
“That’s why I’ve had such a great relationship with Dean Dillon. I think he’s the best melody guy in the business.
His lyrics are great as well, so there you go. There is no specific message or mood that I’ll be shooting for. I just want to put together a bunch of good songs that stand out individually.”
He also told the magazine that his son, Bubba Strait, even has a few co-writes on this forthcoming record. Bubba has written with his dad many times before, so I absolutely cannot wait to hear what they’ve come up with this time:
“It’s been great to see Bubba get into songwriting, guitar, and performing. I love writing with him and we’ll have some new things for the next record.”
Say LESS, George. I don’t know if his plan is to release it in 2023, but if he does, go ahead and clear a spot at the top country albums list.
The King is coming for everybody and it will surely be a helluva project with Dean and Bubba pitching in, too. He didn’t provide much further detail, but that was enough to get me jazzed on this Friday morning.
Over the last five-plus years, he’s only put out greatest hits compilations, live albums, and a couple Christmas albums, so it would be incredible to get a new, true, real deal studio record from him.
And when pressed on how he’s been able to sustain the longevity of his career, and how he’s remained just as popular as ever at a young 70 years old, he offered this advice…
“Staying focused and believing that what you’re doing is good is important; you have to believe in yourself. I always felt like I knew what worked for me and what didn’t.
That might not be the key to longevity – but who can honestly even say what might be? I just always knew that I wanted a career like Merle Haggard or George Jones.
I wanted to still be relevant when I got older. Those guys are still relevant and always will be in my book.”
Amen to that, King.
George recently announced a run of stadium shows starting in May of next year and running through the summer, and will have the great Chris Stapleton, as well as Little Big Town, opening for him.
During some of the press announcing the shows, George and Chris even hinted at doing “something together,” so maybe if we’re really, really lucky, they might even team up for something on George’s new record.
Completely needless to say, but this troubadour has still got it in spades, and that’s why he’s the King. Cue it up…