more than 30 years in the music industry, George Strait is still at the
top of his game. Nearly 17,000 fans showed up for his show in Des
Moines. He’s had 60, yes that’s right, SIXTY number one hits. No
wonder Blake Shelton is so ‘down’ on traditional and classic country
music. He wouldn’t be able to do that if his life depended on it.
Anyway back to the ‘King of Country Music’ these days, even though that
is a tenable title in today’s world, that is how he was known as he
performed his “The Cowboy Rides Away” final tour. “You know we had to
come back here,” Strait told the crowd after being greeted with a
deafening roar. “I hope you don’t have anywhere to go anytime soon,
because we have a lot of songs to do tonight.” And he did. Strait has
been playing more than 30 songs a night on this tour, which is still
only half of the singer’s 60 number-one hits. We have some personal
insight into the country career of George Strait too. Paul Maloy, one
of our regular attendees at LeMars, along with wife Mattie and the Horn
Twins, contributed “Ocean Front Property in Arizona” for George Strait.
Paul is a great writer, as well as a gifted guitarist and vocalist.
Bob Everhart even had a ‘relate’ with George Strait in 1984. We were
both booked on a huge country music festival in Indianapolis during the
Indy-500 at the Shriner’s Temple there. I was with Bluegrass Playground
at the time, Danny McElroy’s great band from Omaha (he and his band
will be at the Oak Tree on May 16, come early for a special treat). We
actually ‘followed’ George Strait on stage when we played. It was
startlingly, to say the least to walk on the stage after him, and see
the immense crowd of about 15 people in the audience. apparently the
Shriner’s thought since there was so many people at the Indy-500 during
the daytime hours, they could persuade many of them to come to a
super-concert featuring tons of well known celebrities, in the evening.
Didn’t happen, it was a complete flop. Danny McElroy and I watched in
utter amazement as the Nashville stars started screaming at the
Shriner’s for their money, as well as screaming on their phones to their
attorneys in Nashville. We never did get paid, nor did they I fear,
but we had one of the best times of our lives, not only working with
George Strait, but also with our favorite Bluegrasser Jimmy Martin.
Wow, what memories. Good luck to George Strait as he slows down his
musical career, in a couple of years he may even let us put him in our
Hall of Fame.
Bob Everhart for Country Music News International