On Saturday at AT&T Stadium, one of the biggest country music crowds ever will witness perhaps the most significant day of country music the Dallas-Fort Worth area has ever hosted: George Strait will ride away and fans of all ages, from many parts of the world, will likely shed a tear or two in tribute.
Over three decades of recording and touring means that Strait has influenced more than his fair share of artists, writers and radio personalities, who began as wide-eyed fans themselves. DC9 at Night took the opportunity to speak to some of Texas' biggest names in country music and media to find out what their favorite King George song is and how it inspired them.
"Let's Fall to Pieces Together"
Josh Grider: I'll say one of my favorite George Strait songs has to be "Let's Fall to Pieces Together." There is so much nostalgia related with those 1980s records for me. I was just a kid when they came out and later they were the first things I learned how to sing and play on the guitar. It's real hard to pick just one. Long live King George!
"Big" Gus Samuelson (Host on 95.3 the Range and Lead Singer for Swampadelic): This is too easy for me. "Let's Fall to Pieces Together" is just good country music with three chords -- well, four maybe -- and the truth.
Pat Green: "Baby Blue," is my favorite. I had a girl like that in college. I have a daughter like that, too. Everyone knows a girl like that. God Bless her.
"Blame It on Mexico"
Rita Ballou (Blogger and Host on Austin's KOKE FM): Easy, "Blame It on Mexico," because of the line about Ma Crosby's in Acuna. I was 18 in my college dorm in San Marcos and me and my friends were listening to George tapes and decided that we wanted to go to Ma Crosby's so we piled up in my crappy Chevy Cavalier and drove to Mexico. That was long before 9/11, when you could, and drink a margarita.
Cody Johnson: My favorite is "The Chair." First, because it's as iconic of a country song as "The Dance" or "Your Cheatin' Heart," sung by the one artist, in my opinion, that has remained true to himself throughout his entire career. It's simple, country, and believable. Second, because it was written by Dean Dillon, who, again, in my opinion, is one of the better country music songwriters there ever will be. He paints the picture of "the chair" in such a way that the listener can see the details of that moment perfectly.
Randy Rogers: "The Chair" never fails to pack the dance floor anytime I've played it. It might be the best song about a bar I've ever heard. And the dance floor agrees.
George Dunham (Host on 1310 the Ticket and Lead Singer for the Bird Dogs): I will go with "True." I know there are deeper cuts, but that song has always made me smile.
"Gone As a Girl Can Get"
Baron Lane (TwangNation.Com and GRAMMY.com): My choice for favorite George Strait is "Gone as a Girl Can Get," a charting single from his 1992 release Holding My Own. It's a classic boot-scootin', leaving-and-pining song that shows Strait at his best. Oh, and my dad, Jerry Max Lane, wrote the song; that helps.
"Marina Del Ray"
Wade Bowen: My favorite George Strait song is probably "Marina Del Ray," although it is beyond tough to decide on just one. It's just a brilliant song with some of the best melodies I've ever heard and George just sings the "you-know-what" out of it.
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Matt Hillyer: "Unwound," because I dig the early Strait stuff the most. That song has a raw, almost bluesy feel to it that you don't get in a lot of other Strait hits.
Cody Canada: "Unwound" was the song, and George Strait was the dude that made me play music. I first heard it when I was five years old, and I was in the front row of a dinner theater in Oklahoma City where he played. That was it for me.
GEORGE STRAIT performs at AT&T Stadium