‘Tis the season to get titillated about all the potential new albums we may receive in 2023. Saving Country Music will be out with it’s “Most Anticipated/Release Radar/Rumor Mill” roundup for 2023 near the end of the year. But while rooting around for intelligence about what new albums may be on the way, this tidbit passed under-the-nose that seemed worth sharing.
George Strait adorns the cover of the current issue of Cowboys & Indians Magazine (officially the January 2023 issue), which landed the very rare George Strait interview. They conversed with King George about a host of subjects, most notably about when he might be delivering a new album. Strait’s last installment Honky Tonk Time Machine came out in March of 2019, so he’s about due for a new one. Of course radio and awards mostly ignore Strait these days, but the last album still debuted at #1.
“I like making records and plan on doing another one soon,” George Strait told the magazine. “I’m narrowing down my song choices now. I’ve always said I’m a melody guy. A great melody can sell a song the best. A great lyric with a lousy melody maybe not so much, but a great lyric along with a great melody is obviously what you’re looking to create. That’s why I’ve had such a great relationship with Dean Dillon. I think he’s the best melody guy in the business. His lyrics are great as well, so there you go. There is no specific message or mood that I’ll be shooting for. I just want to put together a bunch of good songs that stand out individually.”
The long-time George Strait and Dean Dillon partnership/collaboration landed both of them in the Country Music Hall of Fame. But in recent years, George Strait has been stepping up his own songwriting game a little bit too, and much more than he did in his early career. He’s also been working more with his son Bubba as a songwriter as well, who apparently is just one part of a burgeoning musical family.
“It’s been great to see Bubba get into songwriting, guitar, and performing,” Strait says. “I love writing with him and we’ll have some new things for the next record. My grandson played drums for a while and will probably go back to it at some point, but right now it’s baseball for him plus hunting and fishing. I’ve heard a little singing from time to time from my granddaughter. She sounded pretty good. It’s way too early to predict something like that, but I’ll encourage them in whatever it is they decide to do.”
In the interview, Strait also gives credit to good timing for his career working out the way it did. When he emerged on the scene in 1981, country music was just starting to come out one of its cyclical “crossover” phases centered around success in pop, and started to come back to the roots and twang that George Strait embraced. Now that roots sound is coming back around again in the aftermath of Bro-Country, and the music of artists like George Strait is coming back into favor with the masses. Though of course for those true country music fans, it never left.
“I just always knew that I wanted a career like Merle Haggard or George Jones,” Strait says. “I wanted to still be relevant when I got older. Those guys are still relevant and always will be in my book.”