Friday, August 30, 2013
– George Strait may have said he's retiring from the stage, but he is not abandoning recording. Strait signed with his three-decades plus label MCA earlier this week for five more albums.
"George Strait, the artist, the performer, the personality, the man, simply defines country music, yesterday, today, and tomorrow," said Dungan. "I can't tell you what a pleasure and a privilege it is to work with this artist, and what an honor it is to represent the man and the music. We know the best is yet to come."
Strait signed with MCA in May 1981. Since then, he has released 40 studio albums including "Love Is Everything" in May.
"It seems like yesterday I signed with MCA. I was homeless, so to speak, back then, as far as the music business goes and MCA gave me a home," said Strait. "I'll always appreciate that. I still have a home, and I'm looking forward to a whole lot more."
On Wednesday, nearly 700 guests were honored Strait at Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Invited guests were music industry professionals, family and friends, as well as songwriters from all of Strait's number one singles, and all members of every past and present MCA Nashville promotion team.
The celebration opened with recognition of all of Strait's number one hits, including Give It All We Got Tonight, the most recent history-making 60th number one single, a record.
An "in the round" acoustic performance of some of Strait's biggest hits followed, performed by Jim Lauderdale, Tim James, Phil O'Donnell and Dean Dillon, songwriters who have been mainstays within Strait's song catalogue throughout his career.
Since 1999, as a headline act, Strait has sold close to five million tickets for a gross of more than $300 million, and currently holds attendance records in 19 of the largest arenas/stadiums in the country. In November, Billboard Magazine will honor Strait with their Legend of Live Award at the Billboard Touring Awards in New York City, making him the first-ever country music singer to receive the award. Strait currently is on his farewell "The Cowboy Rides Away" tour.
Former President George H.W. Bush and Merle Haggard, Strait's hero, sent congratulations, but were not able to appear.
The evening concluded with a performance by Strait, who played some of his biggest hits: Troubadour, Amarillo By Morning and The Chair with his Ace In The Hole band.
The final song of the night was Strait's current single, I Believe, a song he wrote after learning about the tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn. last December. Joining him on stage was a children's choir from Eakin Elementary School. The school is a beneficiary of "Keep the Music Playing," CMA's music education program which has donated more than $7.6 million and purchased more than 5,000 instruments for Metro Nashville Public Schools since 2006. The song was arranged for the choir by Strait's longtime producer and friend, Tony Brown, who rehearsed with the children at their school last week.