George Strait Previews New Album

| September 26, 2015

Strait2 9-22-15George Strait just released a new album called Cold Beer Conversation.  He debuted the project for the media in Las Vegas last Tuesday, and afterwards, they got a chance to sit down with him in a casual atmosphere and talk about the new music.  Here’s some of that conversation:

This album has been a nicely kept secret.  Now that it’s real and everyone knows it, does it change how you feel? “Well yeah, I don’t have to keep it a secret any more. That’s a good thing. I can tell people about it.  I told a few friends about it privately, and they said, ‘But you retired,’ and I said, ‘No I’m not!’  See I told you I wasn’t.  So I think it’s a good thing that people now know I’m not retired.”

How do you feel about being called The King? “You know, I don’t know where that started, it’s not something I encouraged.  It’s nice to hear people say it, because they mean well.  I don’t know how it started, but it’s nice.”Strait3 9-22-15

The new single is the title track from the album, “Cold Beer Conversation.”  Tell us about that: “It’s just got such a cool vibe to it, it’s a great idea, and the lyrics are perfect for having a cold beer conversation, things you talk about when you’re with a buddy, so that’s what drew me to the song, plus the melody is killer.”

With the new music, besides the new single, what do you think will be a hit? “I love ‘Going, Going Gone’ that Keith Gaddis wrote, that’s one of my favorite songs on the record. ‘Everything I See’ that I wrote with my son and Dean Dillon is one we wrote as a tribute to my dad’s passing.  It’s got deep meaning for me, and I think it could be a hit, I think it would hit home with a lot of people.  ‘Even When I Can’t Feel It’ is a song Dean Dillon wrote for me, because he’s tuned into my life, so to be able to take a song of his that I know he specifically did for me, and it’s just a beautiful song.”

In the song about your father, there’s a lyric about a cell phone, it’s interesting the changing technology that finds it’s way into songs, is that something you shoot for? “I guess it is, it’s one of those things, remember the first cell phones? They were huge.  Now you aren’t cool without one.  But that song was inspired by modern technology, stuff you save and send, and one day, shortly after he passed away, I wanted to call him, and I cant do that.  So it just kind of hit me, and that’s how that song came about.”

You love western swing, and in this record, you & Bubba wrote a western swing song called “It Takes All kinds.”  Talk about that song: “I’ve loved western swings, like when I played the bars, we played 4 hours of western swing.  One time I opened for the Texas Playboys, and played every song of theirs as a tribute, and we walked off and the guys went, thanks for doing our stuff for us.  We were so honored to play with them, we lost our head a little bit.  But it’s been a huge part of our career, and they’re not easy to find any more, and this one is a catchy swing song, the band played it great, and the fact that I could write it with Bubba, it’s even better.”

Best advice you got? “My granddad always told me, ‘Son get you an education, that’s something no one can take away from you.’ Which makes a lot of sense, so I followed his advice, and as you can see I’m using my college education today.”

This is the first year that you didn’t tour, and you’ve been off for about 16 months, so what’s been the biggest change for you? “It’s been a big adjustment for me, because I’ve been my life for 30 years.  I didn’t start missing it until January, which is normally when I’d go on tour.  But my plan all along was to take a year off, see how it felt.  I can’t say I haven’t missed it.  I miss the guys, the songs, and the fans.  So I’m glad to be able to get back and do some shows in Vegas.  Especially since I’m not doing the big tour thing, where every weekend I’m traveling.  That’s what got old to me.  I did it for a lot of years, so I’m glad to not do that for a while.”

How do you write songs? “I like to get together with Dean Dillon, we’ll either go to the ranch or we’ll pick another place, and just write.  Keith came down and was writing with Bubba, and I just walked in, they were stuck on something, and I had an idea, then Keith had another idea, and that turned into ‘Let It Go.’  It can happen all kinds of ways.  The song ‘I Believe’ was just writing notes on my phone, sent it to Dean and Bubba, and I’m really proud of that song, one of the best things I’ve ever written.”

With so much material coming at you, how do you find something out of the box? “You have to listen to them. Some you don’t have to listen long.  But I’ve been lucky to find songs that fit me.  I know there’s some that I’ve missed, others I thought were good, and I go to the studio, and they don’t work.  That happened.”

Let’s go back to that final show in Dallas, what was going through your mind as you sang “The Cowboy Rides Away?” “I really didn’t want to sing it, because I knew that was it for the night.  In fact when we rehearsed it, I wanted the other artists to sing it with me, so we rehearsed it that way.  Then Martina came to me and said, ‘We all think you should sing it yourself, because they came to hear you.’  So I said alright.  But it was a bittersweet moment.  I knew it was over, that was the longest show I’ve ever done, we did a lot of songs that night.”

Listen to a preview of George Strait’s new album:

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