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This week’s playlist: Strait to the Source

Peter Blackstock

Editor’s note: This article was originally published June 3, 2014

It’s getting down to the wire for the George Strait faithful: Less than a week remains until the country legend retires from the road after Saturday’s final stop of “The Cowboy Rides Away” tour at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

Strait’s endless stream of hit recordings is pretty easy to find, but it’s revealing to dig a little deeper and check out some of the original takes of his hits as they’re rendered by those who wrote them.

Some of the best are gathered on “A Songwriter’s Tribute to George Strait,” including songwriter Whitey Shafer’s takes on “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind” and “All My Exes Live in Texas,” Byron Hill’s own version of “Fool Hearted Memory,” Dana Hunt Black’s reading of “Check Yes or No” and Sonny Throckmorton’s rendition of the tour’s theme song, “The Cowboy Rides Away.”

We’ve combed through Spotify and compiled 17 others into this “Strait to the Source” playlist. They include a couple songs each from the likes of Aaron Barker, Steve Dorff, Austin’s own Bruce Robison, and Dean Dillon, who’s written more than 50 songs Strait has recorded and was profiled recently in Texas Monthly.

Also included are a few tunes Strait has covered that were written by songwriters who’ve had major careers as singers and performers themselves, including Merle Haggard, John Prine, Vern Gosdin and Bill Anderson.

Dig in below and hear some fascinating parallels to the Strait line.