There’s been a lot of talk in country music circles lately about just what is, and isn’t, country music. The backlash to Sturgill Simpson’s Facebook rant about Nashville co-opting Merle Haggard’s legacy comes to mind, as does Jason Aldean’s recent interview in which he called “bro-country” a “f—ing stupid” term.
But sometimes, when the people are most in of a leader, one will rise among the ashes to give an opinion that actually matters. That’s what George Strait did in a recent interview with the Dallas Observer.
Strait, who was in Dallas to promote Codigo 1530, a new tequila for which he is an investor and spokesman, took some time in his interview to talk about the current state of country music.
Unsurprisingly, most of the current crop of artists on the radio is all chaff to the King. But, he did say he thinks the genre moves in cycles, and that country music is moving in a more traditional direction.
“I don’t see a lot of my influence out there in country music today, out there being played on the radio,” Strait told the Observer. “The country music scene is always changing, and the music is always changing. I’ve seen the pendulum swing this way and back this way. It’s very country, and then not so country. I think right now it’s kind of trending back to more traditional country music, which is what I like and I like to do. So I’m glad to see that.”Listen: Is your favorite George Strait song on our Spotify playlist?
Strait also added that while he only really listens to the Outlaw Country and Willie’s Roadhouse channels on Sirius XM and he isn’t too fond of some of the more current country acts, he doesn’t begrudge their success. On the contrary.
“But I can’t put anybody down for having success in the business, which is just tough,” Strait said. “And for someone to go out and have some success in the music business, more power to ’em. I’m not saying I have to like it, but I just know how tough it is.”
Other King George interview nuggets:On Kacey Musgraves, who recently played her first set at the Austin City Limits Music Festival: “She’s great. We’re doing a couple songs together in the show. She’s a very good songwriter, very good performer, singer… She doesn’t need any advice from me. She’s got it wired.” On writing songs the old-fashioned way: “You can’t trust this [phone technology]. I tell my son, please. Write stuff down. You need it on paper, on a pencil. That’s how I wrote and I still do it that way. But I find myself, when I’m writing with somebody, I’m actually pulling my phone out and going to my notes.”
Strait also has hows planned at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas this year and in 2017, and is releasing a new box set, “Strait Out of the Box: Part 2” on Nov. 18. The box set will include new music he recorded this year.