Saturday, January 22, 2005

Strait Country

There is little to be said for most country music these days. George Strait is the shining exception.

Strait and his Ace in the Hole Band brought a pure country music show to Thompson Boling Arena Friday night and played to a packed house. It was a true country music fan's delight.

Opening with "The Fireman," Strait launched into a nearly two hour set of pretty love songs and rodeo tunes, up-tempo cuts and a little Western Swing. There was little interplay between songs and no theatrics.

Strait doesn't need it because unlike most modern country artists, he is actually talented, letting his music speak for itself.

His sound hasn't changed much since his first hit, "Unwound," was released in 1981. And that's been the secret to his success. Twenty-four years later, Strait has earned 51 number one hits, more than anyone in country music history.

Highlights of the night included Terry Stafford's classic rodeo tear-jerker "Amarillo By Morning," the gentle "Tell Me Something Bad About Tulsa" and an inspired cover of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues." Strait peppered his show with several country classics, including Bob Wills' "Take Me Back to Tulsa" and "Milk Cow Blues."

If audience reaction is any judge, pure country music still has an eager audience.

Strait got a big hand for his late 1990s hit, "Murder on Music Row," a song about the ruination of traditional country music by profit-minded Nashville record producers who sold the music's roots out in favor of a thinly disguised pop sound.

"They thought no one would buy them old drinkin' and cheatin' songs," the song says.

After all these years, though, George Strait is still singing them --- still selling albums and packing arenas. One gets the sense that his music will be around long after all of the wanna bes have faded into the sunset.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Strait is good, when your by yourself and drinking a beer. But what about the hellraising band Big and Rich. There is much room in the Country tent for all brands of Country. How about Knoxville's own Kenny Chesney. His new CD "Be as you are" is really a Jimmy Buffett island with a George Strait calm and cool style.

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was listening to FM101.7 last evening, it is a country station out of Maryville. They play older country songs. There was a song from years ago.
The lyrics include the following verbage
"If it weren't for Country Music, I'd go crazy"
They also play alot of Conway Twitty. When I was younger, teenager, I couldn't stand Conway, however listening to him now. Wow he was Good. What do you think?

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


What did you think of Con Hunley. He is a local artist that probably did Ok for himself. There was alot of talent around this area. Roy Acuff from Maynardville and Chet Atkins and Kenny Chesney from Luttrell. What is in the water in Luttrell and Maynardville. That would produce such talent?

7:16 AM  
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12:22 AM  

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