George Strait's 10 Best Texas Songs
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On Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, George Strait will ride away into the sunset as he concludes his long-running touring career. Though he will keep recording and will occasionally play the one-off gig, the days of taking another Strait show for granted appear to be over.
Before frat boys started singing about tubes on the Guadalupe River or Shiner Bock, King George introduced the country to the raw, free-wheeling sounds of Texas dancehalls when popular country music in the early 1980s was riddled with schlocky orchestral arrangements and pop crossover artists. (You know, like modern-day mainstream country.) He picked up where legends such as Bob Wills and Ernest Tubb left off and forced the industry, and a nation, to pay attention to what was going on south of the Red River.
We could go on and on about the greatness of Strait, but for now, let's focus on 10 of his greatest Texas songs.
"Somewhere Down in Texas" (2005)
Though his classic, show-ending "The Cowboy Rides Away" will likely, and rightfully, be the song that the King ends his touring career with, it wouldn't be the craziest of stretches for this song to take its place for the sheer specificity of lyrics such as "I'll turn out the lights tonight/And say goodnight/But not goodbye." If he busts this out on Saturday, and you're there, tears will be involuntarily produced -- guaranteed.
"Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind" (1984)
Fort Worth often has to deal with being ignored when talk of the metroplex commences. (Shut up, Arlington.) But here, not only does Strait want to remember the lovely time he had in Cowtown, he wants his former lady lover, who went to be in Dallas with some non-King George idiot, to keep in mind what went down there. He doesn't want Dallas crossing her mind anymore, dang it.
"Amarillo by Morning" (1983)
Strait forced a ton of people to learn about Texas towns that aren't usually at the top of most minds. It'd be tough to find a list of Strait all-time classics that doesn't have this song in its appropriate slot near the top, if not No. 1. Here, he sings about what he knows: rodeos, women, traveling the country and, yes, Texas. Bro-country rockers can't sing about the rodeo, and that's a scientific fact.
It didn't take long for fans of Red Dirt and Texas country to grow weary of the whole "songs about Texas" trend that still somehow has a bit of steam left. But this tune, a simple ode to mostly well-known Texas points of pride, is killer because it's from King George. He's been everywhere and seen everything. Yellow roses and the Rio Grande still warrant his love and admiration.
"All My Exes Live in Texas" (1987)
Though this massive hit tune's lady-killer narrator was forced to escape to Tennessee, he did his romantic damage here in Texas. Cowboys love women, and women love cowboys, until they get left for another woman or for another rodeo far away. This classic tune gets extra points for how the narrator dated ladies with fun names like "Ilene" and "Dimples."