Voiceover by Lawrence Standifer Stevens
Written by Joseph E. Casanova
George Strait is the indisputable "King of Country Music" and shows no signs of riding off into the sunset.
The first time I heard George Strait’s music was in high school in the early 80’s. I was a rocker, so I didn’t pay attention to how crazy the girls were over the new cowboy crooner.
It wasn’t until I enrolled at Texas State University (it’ll always be Southwest Texas State to me) that I learned George was one of its famous alumni.
In fact, I remember one of my roommates telling me a story of how he sat next to the singer at a local pub and struck up a conversation with him.
My friend asked the stranger what he did for a living and he said he was so-and-so, you know "a famous country artist.” “Hmm…never heard of you.” He finished his drink and left the superstar sitting at the bar.
In 1992, I started working at the singer’s hometown newspaper, and I had the opportunity to meet his father, John, who had taught at the local high school for many years. He’d often stop by the office on Thursdays to pick up a copy of that week’s edition.
Later that year, George Strait made his film debut and I was fortunate enough to attend the private screening and the after-party at the Dominion. I even had my photo taken with the superstar. It was an awesome evening.
Remember those star-studded festivals he headlined at the Alamodome? I was there in 1995, 96 and 99 and saw hitmakers such as Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. Those concerts were incredible and I wish he’d do one more for old time’s sake.
The last time I spoke to George’s father was in 98 when he called the office requesting a front page story on his son’s back-to-back Male Vocalist of the Year wins at the annual Academy of Country Music Awards. I told him I’d be happy to oblige. How could I say “no” to the dad of a country legend, the undisputed “King of Country,” Mr. George Strait?
At the recent 50th Annual ACM’s, King George wowed the Texas crowd of 70,000+ with the classic “All My Ex’s Live in Texas” and his newest single “Let It Go”.
Then he was honored with the Milestone Award for ACM Winner Over Four Decades, including Entertainer of the Year accolades, the first one in 1989 and the most recent in 2013.
It’s hard to believe it was 1982 when he first topped the Billboard country charts with “Foolhearted Memory. ” Over 70 million records sold, the Texas native still cranks out hit after hit.
I hope it’s a long, long time before this cowboy rides away into the sunset.