George Strait has an album of new music on the way for the first time in four years, and it will be called Honky Tonk Time Machine. This was the country legend’s pronouncement from the stage of the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas this weekend as he played a round of residency shows. Though we don’t have a release date yet, the new album is expected to be delivered in early 2019.
Along with the first studio track from the album called “Código” after a tequila company he’s invested in, the Las Vegas crowd also got treated to a couple other new songs, including a song called “God and Country Music,” and one called “Every Little Honky Tonk Bar” (see below).
“So I’m sittin’ around, me and Bubba [Strait’s son] and Dean Dillon writing, and I’m tired and it’s late,” Strait explains. “We’d written a couple of songs and I’m wanting to go to bed. ‘Anybody got anything else?’ And Bubba goes, ‘Whiskey is the gasoline that lights the fire that burns the bridge,’ We go, ‘What? Okay, we’ll write that.’ “
This weekend’s shows in Las Vegas were also the first public performances since George Strait lost his long time drummer Mike Kennedy in a car wreck in Tennessee on August 31st. “We had some tragedy that happened to us Labor Day weekend,” Strait said. “We lost our drummer of almost 30 years, Mike Kennedy. God bless him. We didn’t know how we were going to handle this.”
Mike Kennedy had been the drummer for the Ace in the Hole band since 1983. Kennedy’s replacement is well-known session drummer Lonnie Wilson. Along with playing drums on such iconic tracks as “Brand New Man” by Brooks & Dunn, “Time Marches On” by Tracey Lawrence, “I Swear” by John Michael Montgomery, and being named the Academy of Country Music’s Drummer of the Year in 2002 and 2004, Lonnie Wilson is also a well-respected songwriter. He’s written songs for Brooks & Dunn, Holly Dunn, Andy Griggs and others. He started his career as the lead single of the 80’s country band Bandana.
With the limited tour schedule George Strait has these days and the legacy in country music Lonnie Wilson brings, it’s a good fit. In 2019, George Strait plans to play a limited run of shows, including March 30th in Atlanta at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Buckeye Country Fest in Columbus Ohio in June, as well as the brand new Dickie’s Arena in Ft. Worth on November 22nd.
More information on the new album Honky Tonk Time Machine when it becomes available.