Together they have more than 254 years of experience singing professionally. They've released 138 albums throughout a span of 30-plus years. They've spent 65 years as members of the Grand Ole Opry. Oh, and they've also won a total of 48 Grammys together.
These impressive stats belong to George Strait's 12 opening acts on the massive "The Cowboy Rides Away Tour" that wraps up at AT&T Stadium on Saturday. So forget about King George for a second because these openers aren't just your average county fair winners. They're superstars in their own right and that's why together this show will be biggest the event in North Texas this summer.
Jason Aldean One of the first songs Aldean learned to play on guitar was George Strait's "The Cowboy Rides Away." Now 30 years later, Aldean is performing his own tunes on the same-named tour. Aldean perfectly mixes a more traditional country sound with just enough rock 'n' roll to keep it fresh. He was one of the first mainstream country artists to introduce America to country-rap in his 2011 hit, "Dirt Road Anthem."
Martina McBride McBride has arguably the best voice on this tour. But prepare yourself because once she spreads her arms, opening up her chest to belt out "Independence Day" and "A Broken Wing," don't be surprised if you a feel a chill down your back. Or neck. Heck, forget the chills because her voice leaves most teary-eyed.
Kenny Chesney Chesney is one of the performers who won't be intimidated by playing AT&T Stadium for the first time, his most recent visit being summer of 2013. He knows just what it takes to get a crowd going, plus his typical beach, barefoot and summer tunes are perfect for a Texas crowd in June.
Eric Church With his aviator shades and love for the reefer, Eric Church walks the line of being too cool for his own good. Winner of the 2013 ACMs Album of the Year, Church doesn't need much help in the critics' department. Fans have him covered as well, as they made his 2010 song, "Smoke A Little Smoke," a country radio hit. But smoking isn't allowed in AT&T Stadium, so light up at your own risk.
Sheryl Crow Crow's artistry is rare in that her music isn't boxed in one genre, singing rock, pop, country, blues and probably more. Before her own solo career took off, Crow sang backup for several artists, including Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Don Henley. Now in the spotlight, she'll sing her own songs Saturday, like "If It Makes You Happy."
Ronnie Dunn Kix Brooks, the other half of country duo Brooks & Dunn, won't be with him, but don't let that upset you. Dunn can stand on his own and proved it with his 2011 solo album. However, it wouldn't be too shocking if Brooks made a special visit for George's very last show. Wishful thinking?
Vince Gill Vince Gill is responsible for nearly half of the 12 opening act's Grammy awards. A total of 20 sit on his shelf -- more than any other male country artist. Along with being an award-winning musician, Gill also has been recognized for his work as a producer and songwriter.
Faith Hill In 2011, Faith Hill recorded a duet with George Strait titled, "A Showman's Life," for one of George's albums. Hopefully, Strait and will make some time for the song Saturday night, but if not, you can surely count on "This Kiss" and "Breathe" -- songs that helped pave the way for pop-country starlets today.
Alan Jackson He sings one of the more moving country songs of the past 15 years: "Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning" is a tribute to the victims of 9/11 and helped Jackson gain national recognition. But more than anything, Alan sings about the everyday man with songs like "Country Boy," "Hard Hat and a Hammer" and "Small Town Southern Man."
Miranda Lambert Even as the youngest musician on this tour, Lambert doesn't let that get in the way of proving she belongs with the veterans. How young, you might ask? Well Strait released his first single in 1981, and Lambert was born two years later. So yeah, she's relatively young, but don't tell the "Gunpowder and Lead" singer that. The last thing we need is her lighting a match to anything.
Lee Ann Womack A fellow Texan, Womack is no stranger to being on the road with King George. Her most popular song, "I Hope You Dance," was a huge crossover hit to pop radio in 2000. The song won Grammys, ACMs and she even performed it at a Nobel Peace Prize concert and the 2004 Republican National Convention. So go ahead and dance.
Asleep At The Wheel This Austin band has actually been performing longer than the King himself. Asleep At The Wheel's highest charting single is "The Letter That Johnny Walker Red," and they have plenty more equally-as-good songs. Will George invite the band on stage to help him sing "Big Balls in Cowtown?"
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.