Welcome to Episode #5 of Country History X, which looks to tell the history of country music, one story at a time. This is story of the tragic life and death of Keith Whitley who died at the age of 34 due to alcohol abuse, and the conspiracy theories that surrounded it.
Getting into the Texas theme (or at least, a country one), Post Malone threw everyone for a curve ball by borrowing Dwight Yoakam’s band, and busting out a few country songs at Matthew McConaughey’s Texas benefit Sunday night.
If you want to get a shocked reaction from a country music fan, tell them that George Strait is not a member of the Grand Ole Opry. But a question that arose recently was, has George Strait ever even played the Grand Ole Opry? It took some digging to answer.
The Broken Spoke honky tonk is just about the most authentic thing you can still find within the city limits of Austin, TX. And now it’s long-time owner, mascot, patron saint, and a man that has been a major booster for music in the region and the stepping stone for many major careers has passed on.
Alvin Crow, Austin, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Bobby Flores, Cornell Hurd, Dale Watson, Ernest Tubb, Garth Brooks, George Strait, James White, Jason Roberts, Jesse Dayton, Kitty Wells, MIke and the Moonpies, Roy Acuff, Tex Ritter, The Broken Spoke, The Derailers, Weldon Henson, Willie Nelson
Yes, Post Malone. The rapper guy and pop star with all those tattoos on his face. He’s one of the biggest artists in all of popular music at the moment. And apparently, he’s a big fan of independent country music. Over the last few weeks he’s been caught repping guys you could list off as your 1A, 1B, and 1C.
A once-in-a-lifetime event happened on January 12th, 2019 when a wide-ranging assemblage of talent from country music and beyond came together at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville to pay tribute to Willie Nelson. Called ‘Willie: Life and Songs of an American Outlaw,’ it’s being released on CD and DVD.
Amanda Shires, Blackbird Presents, Bobby Bare, Chris Stapleton, Dave Matthews, Derek Trucks, Don Was, Emmylou Harris, Eric Church, George Strait, Jack Johnson, Jamey Johnson, Jimmy Buffett, Kris Kristofferson, Lee Ann Womack, Lukas Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Margo Price, Micah Nelson, Nathaniel Rateliff, Norah Jones and The Little Willies, Ray Benson, Rodney Crowell, Sheryl Crow, Steve Earle, Susan Tedeschi, The Avett Brothers, Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, Willie: Life and Songs of an American Outlaw
Despite George Strait officially retiring from full-time touring in 2014—a commitment he’s actually stuck to unlike other superstars, only playing sporadic stadium shows and limited-run Las Vegas residencies—Strait surprisingly walked away with Billboard’s “Top Country Tour” award.
From the way he expertly plys his passion for country music, to the trueness he shows to himself, Roo Arcus is one of the best places to turn for more of that straight-laced and squared away version of country music indicative of George Strait, yet it’s still country that cuts to the bone with ruggedness and authenticity.
Look, you can make too much of these kinds of things for sure. But coming from a big platform and going completely unchecked, a little bit of marketing could turn into a big aberration of the truth, so some spirit dissent is warranted in this situation. Blake Shelton is not the “King of Country.”
We shouldn’t be surprised that Jon Pardi is one of the few new mainstream stars who can rattle off a handful of country classics at a moments notice. He’s about as traditional as mainstream country gets. Hell most of today’s radio stars have little to no idea who Merle Haggard, Dwight Yoakam, or the late great Joe Diffie even are.
Though Dean Dillon has written songs for scores of artists, including Chris Stapleton, Gary Stewart, Vince Gill, Vern Gosdin, Lee Ann Womack, and so many others, it’s his partnership with George Strait that has gone on to become legendary, and is the undeniable impetus for putting him in the Hall of Fame.
Reba McEntire at her finest is some of the best country music you can find. She proved that when she released her latest album, 2019’s ‘Stronger Than The Truth,’ which marked the redhead’s return to the more traditional-sounding country of her early career, and it turned out to be one of the best albums released all year.
Once again Garth is being Garth, which means ultimately he’s probably doing the right thing and making a good choice. He’s just doing it in the most self-gratifying of ways. His heart is 100% in the right place. But his ego won’t allow him to make an altruistic move without letting everyone else know what he’s doing.
The somewhat curious, but super cool obsession that the current King of Country Music George Strait has for rock legend Tom Petty continues. It has been announced that Strait will host a tribute to Tom Petty on Petty’s dedicated SiriusXM channel. Strait will spin some tunes and share some Tom Petty stories.
In a recent interview, Willie Nelson said he has a Roger Miller tribute album on the way. He also told the story of how he once turned down recording “The Gambler.” Written by Don Schlitz, it became the signature song for Kenny Rogers when Kenny released it in 1978.
On a totally black cassette tape (what else would you expect?) that is simply marked “Clint Black” with the phone number “589-0560” on a label, someone who most certainly sounds like a young Clint Black spends 7 minutes and 59 seconds reciting minute-long renditions of solid gold hits.
It’s not that it’s especially strange for someone to be a fan of Tom Petty. It’s just that when you think of George Strait, you think of the quintessential straight-laced and starched Wranglers good ol’ country guy, not singing along to “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.”
George Strait is getting his own SiriusXM radio channel, at least for a limited time. And for a limited time, you can listen to it for free as the satellite radio provider extends a current promotion allowing anyone to listen free of charge through their app. Called Ace in the Hole Radio after the iconic singer’s touring band.
With the recent death of John Prine at the hands of COVID-19, the question has been posed by many about the legendary songwriter’s prospects of ever being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. It’s an interesting discussion point for sure, and one with a few important qualifiers.
Organized by Blackbird Presents who’ve put together a host of these tribute shows over the years, usually if you can’t swing a ticket, you miss your opportunity to see so much country music star power assembled in one place. But for this particular event, footage from the tribute was compiled, and is premiering on A&E Easter Sunday.
A&E, Amanda Shaires, Chris Stapleton, Derek Trucks, Don Was, Ed Helms, Emmylou Harris, Eric Church, George Strait, Jack Johnson, Jamey Johnson, Lyle Lovett, Margo Price, Mickey Raphael, Nora Jones, Ray Benson, Sturgill Simpson, The Little Willies, Willie Nelson
Jan Howard’s death was marked with obituaries enumerating her many accomplishments in country music, including her hits, her collaborations with John Anderson, and her long tenure at the Grand Ole Opry. But when it comes to Jan Howard, it was just as much about the work she did off the stage, and out of the spotlight.
Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Connie Smith, George Strait, Grand Ole Opry, Hal Ketchum, Jan Howard, Jean Shepard, Jimmy C. Newmann, Keith Urban, Little Jimmy Dickens, Mack McKenzie, Marty Stuart, Patty Loveless, Stonewall Jackson, Terri Clark
The big tribute show at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena for Willie Nelson that transpired on January 12th, 2019 is finally set to be broadcast for the rest of us who couldn’t attend, and it will include some behind-the-scenes footage and interviews as well. Specials for Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers are also on the way.
A&E, Blackbird Presents, Chris Stapleton, Dolly Parton, Eric Church, George Strait, Kenndy Rogers, Lee Ann Womack, Norah Jones, Ray Benson, Sturgill Simpson, The Avett Brothers, Vince Gill, Willie Nelson
We’ve already run down the Greatest Country Albums of the Decade, and in there, albums in the mainstream were given fair competition to be included, and some made the cut. But in the spirit of inclusiveness and impartiality, let’s make sure the great records from the mainstream get their due as well.
Alan Jackson, Ashley McBryde, Brandy Clark, Caitlyn Smith, Chris Stapleton, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, George Strait, Jamey Johnson, Jon Pardi, Kacey Musgraves, Kalie Shorr, Kellie Pickler, Kip Moore, Miranda Lambert, Mo Pitney, Pistol Annies, Randy Houser, Reba McEntire, William Michael Morgan
George Strait has minted yet another career milestone that puts him in an elite class of musical performers, not just in country music, but anywhere in the world. He’s now officially sold over 10 million tickets to events since first reporting touring revenue officially, only the 2nd country artist to ever do so.