Artist Outlook 2011: George Strait

Where is George Strait?

George Strait TwangOk so us King George fans have been a bit spoiled the past thirty years. George has been as steady as they come for releasing singles with little down time in between. It makes one wonder if he’s every taken a vacation since 1981.

George’s 2011 got started with his last single The Breath You Take getting a Grammy nomination for Best Country Song. The track ran its course over the early part of this year. It was the fourth and seemingly final single from Twang – another classic George record complete with tracks he co-wrote with his son, Bubba.

Since the last single ran out on the charts George Strait fans have been wondering when the next single will be released. Well I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ve been waiting to hear. I love George’s music and can’t wait for more great music from the country legend.

So with things quiet on the George front I thought I’d dig into what 2011 might have in store from George Strait…

George Strait 2011

The big question each year is what will your favorite artists be up to. George Strait is probably in my top three favorite country artists if not my very favorite. I’m a bit curious to see what he’s got up his sleeve for 2011. So far things have been relatively quiet from George’s camp, but don’t count this guy out for the entire year. If I remember from fairly recent interviews (and George doesn’t do many) he’s always looking for his next hit single.

Touring

George is still out touring this year. He’s not in complete hiding. He’s actually on one of the biggest tours of 2011 with Reba McEntire and Lee Ann Womack. Talk about heavy hitters. There are enough hits in that trio to fill up a weekend.

I can see shows running through the spring. I’m not sure if things heat up again for George in the summer. His touring schedule has been a bit light the last few years, but he still gets out and earns that paycheck. He was on Billboard’s top 40 money maker list in 2010 with over $7 million estimated from his music – mostly from touring. George still sells those records too. His back catalog alone probably keeps the lights on at MCA.

New Single

Beyond the touring this spring there really isn’t much coming from the George Strait camp right now in terms of news about music. There doesn’t appear to be any instance of George releasing five singles from one album in the past, but you never know. Maybe there’s one more track on Twang that could see the radio waves in 2011. The album is certainly full of qualified songs.

I’ll hedge my bets on a new single from George by the end of the summer though – something we haven’t heard before. A new single from an upcoming album is where I’m placing my chips this year. The fall is a big time of year for music releases. Artists always look to the holiday selling season for a time to get their albums fresh in the minds of shoppers. I can see a new single from George in July or August giving it a few months before it peaks near the top of the charts just in time for a big album release in October or November.

I’m just guessing at this point, but for some reason I’m feeling an uptempo track from George. This is going against the grain of his last few first album singles. The last two first singles have been slower songs. I could also see a mid-tempo track coming out. Easton Corbin had a huge hit with A Little More Country Than That in 2009-10. So many people thought it was George on the track. The song kind of felt like a George song from the early ’90s.

I don’t know that George would release a similar track. He’s always out there looking for something unique that people aren’t expected. It’s hard to guess what he’ll have in store later this year.

New Album

Beyond the single I think we’ll see a new album from George later this year in October or November 2011. That time of year just seems to be popular for album releases.

George has typically released a new album every year for the last 30 years. When he has missed a year he’s usually released the next album in the summer – see Honkytonkville and SSomewhere Down in Texas. Since we haven’t seen a new single quite yet I’d put the album as a safe bet for the fall.

If it’s late summer I wouldn’t be disappointed though.

Lasting Influence

As you probably know George has an impact on country music even if he’s been a bit quiet on radio the last few weeks. I’ve already mentioned Easton Corbin and how some compare him to George Strait. I’m guilty of comparing the two and maybe that’s unfair to Easton. He’s a newcomer and being pegged as the next George Strait is probably a bit daunting. Easton will become his own artist over time I’m sure.

Other new artists like Josh Kelly are mentioning George Strait as an influence on their careers. He mentions how he remembers listening to George as a kid as riding in his dad’s truck.

I don’t know how George feels about having influences on a younger generation of artists, but they are tipping their hat to the king as they try to build a career in the vocation George has managed to master for the last 30 years.

Summary

Over the last 30 years George Strait has been the most consistent country artist.

Someone George has been able to stay relevant and keep his career going where so many others fizzled out. The average country music career of even the biggest stars has to be about five years. George is going on his fourth decade of chart topping hits. It’s hard to think about his career slowing down anytime soon.

This year we should see more George Strait music. He’s wrapping up a tour with Reba and Lee Ann this spring. Beyond that we really don’t know what 2011 will hold for George. I’m sure he’s behind the scenes working on that next big hit.

I’ll guess a late summer single release with a new album in October or November. I hope I’m wrong though and we see some new Strait country sooner.

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Dayne Shuda

Founder of Country Music Life. Follow on Twitter: @dayneshuda Follow on Google+: Dayne Shuda

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