Country singer. Born May 18, 1952, in Poteet, Texas, Strait is one of country music’s most popular contemporary singers, well known for staying true to the traditional country sound. Strait was raised on a family-owned farm in nearby Pearsall, Texas, where he studied agriculture at Southwest Texas State University. Strait eloped with his high school sweetheart, Norma, before joining the army. While stationed in Hawaii, he began singing in the Army-sponsored band called Rambling Country. After returning to Texas, he put together his own band, Ace in the Hole, which gained a rather impressive local following.
After years of futile attempts at a record contract, Strait signed a solo contract with MCA Records in 1981. Featuring the hit single “Unwound”, his first album, Strait Country (1981), was influential in increasing the radio play of more traditional, less pop-influenced country music. Strait went on to produce a series of Number One albums over the course of the next decade, including Strait From the Heart (1982), Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind (1984), Something Special (1985), Ocean Front Property (1987), and Beyond the Blue Neon (1989), all of which were certified platinum or multi-platinum. In 1989, Strait was named the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year, a feat he repeated in 1990.
In 1992, Strait made his motion picture acting debut in the film Pure Country, and recorded a slew of hit songs for the film’s soundtrack , “I Cross My Heart”, “Heartland”, “Where the Sidewalk Ends”,” and “The King of Broken Hearts”. In 1995, Strait released the four-disc career retrospective titled Strait Out of the Box, which had phenomenal sales that exceeded five million copies. To date, Strait Out of the Box holds the notable distinction of being the biggest-selling boxed set in country music history.
In the late 1990s, Strait released a handful of noteworthy albums, including Blue Clear Sky (1996), Carrying Your Love with Me (1997), and One Step At a Time (1998). Released in September 2000, his album, titled George Strait, yielded the hit singles “Go On”, “If It’s Gonna Rain” and “She Took the Wind From His Sails”.
As the new millennium began, Strait remained a strong draw for country music fans. Two tracks from The Road Less Traveled (2001) - “She’ll Leave You with a Smile” and “Living and Living Well” reached the Number One spot on the country charts and the entire album went platinum. 2003’s Honkytonkville featured such hits as “Tell Me Something Bad About Tulsa” and “Cowboys Like Us”. That same year, Strait received the National Medal of the Arts from President George W. Bush.
Somewhere Down in Texas (2005) was another big seller driven in part by the success of such singles as “You’ll Be There” and “She Let Herself Go”. “Good News, Bad News”, a duet with Lee Ann Womack also featured on the album, won the CMA Award for Musical Event of the Year in 2005.
Well into his third decade at the top, album Number 37 for George Strait maintains the consistency and high quality that’s marked the vast majority of his work from the start. Like Alan Jackson, he’s has always been more comfortable in conventional country fiddle and steel guitar settings, and that’s largely where he remains with Troubadour (2008). Even the good-natured, Caribbean feel of “River of Love” is closer to vintage Strait than Jimmy Buffett. The more somber “House of Cash” is a duet with Patty Loveless. It tells the story of the tragic, 2007 fire that took the home of Johnny Cash, and reflects on what could not be obliterated by the flames. Strait reverts to classic, Lone Star State form with “Make Her Fall With Me Song”, a honky-tonk shuffle in the style of Ray Price or George Jones, while the gorgeous western swing-driven “That West Texas Town” is a duet with Dean Dillon. With Troubadour Strait avoids surprises, if only by virtue of his continuing skill working wonders within a time-honored style.
Here’s the secret to his success - Strait is Everyman. He picks solid songs with themes just about anyone can relate to, and he sings them with a hint of twang in his warm voice. His songs feel like home, and his latest, Twang (2009) is no different.
He outlines his plan for the end of the work week on the rollicking “Twang” (hint: there’s a bar and a jukebox full of country tunes), marvels over meeting his romantic match on “Same Kind of Crazy” and moves from Texas to Louisiana on the jumped-up “Hot Grease and Zydeco”.
Kicking butt with up-tempo songs is the easy part, but Strait delivers on the gutbucket side, too, wondering where the time went on the steel-soaked “Where Have I Been All My Life”, and pouring out regrets on “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”.
Strait keeps alive country’s long (but fading) storytelling tradition, too, with the grim-faced murder ballad “Arkansas Dave”, saving a narrative twist for the end.
It’s the only surprise on the steady, sturdy Twang, and that’s nothing but a compliment.
The King of Country Music is releasing his 39th studio album, Here for A Good Time (2011), and there is one thing that’s perfectly clear - George Strait is having a really good time doing what he does best - making music. The Country Music Hall of Famer co-wrote seven of the album’s eleven tracks with his son Bubba and legendary songwriter Dean Dillon.
Strait co-produced the album with his long-time friend and legendary producer Tony Brown. It was recorded at Shrimpboat Sound Studio in Key West, Florida - the same studio where Strait recorded his last three award-winning albums.
The title track, “Here for A Good Time,” written by Strait, his son Bubba Strait and songwriter Dean Dillon, is Strait’s 89th career single and his second highest debut in his storied career on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
Strait’s highly anticipated 40th studio album, Love is Everything (2013), is
released on longtime label home MCA Nashville. The King of Country music
rejoined veteran producer Tony Brown to co-produce the album, which features thirteen
new tracks, including the current single “Give It All We Got Tonight;” Love is Everything includes four songs
written or co-written by Strait, who penned many alongside his son, Bubba
Strait, and legendary songwriter Dean Dillon.
With the new
album’s first single, “Give It All We Got Tonigh,”t climbing the Country radio
charts, the song is poised to become Strait’s 60th Number One single. Fans and
fellow Country artists recently started campaigning for the Sixty for Sixty movement, which encourages
local radio stations to make the song his 60th Number One single before his