By Bobbie Katz

What do you do when you’re a renowned legendary country star who doesn’t want to tour anymore but isn’t ready to retire?

The answer is, you go “Strait to Vegas,”

George Strait - Judy Thorburn
George Strait
Photo credit: Judy Thorburn

Yes, the man known as the “King of Country,” George Strait, is going to be coming to the 20,000-seat Las Vegas Arena, a soon-to-be-debuted joint venture between MGM Grand Resorts and AEG Live, in 2016. So far, he has two dates scheduled, April 22 and 23 and September 9 and 10, announced at a recent press conference at MGM Grand at which Strait appeared.

"I said all along I wasn’t going to tour anymore, but I also said that I wasn’t retiring by any means and I still wanted to do some dates,” he said. ”I’ve been working a little bit here and there, and I’m really proud of this new album that’s coming out. I think it’s a great record – I always say this; I think it’s one of the best records I’ve done. I always shoot for that. You’ve got to go into the studio thinking that way so I’m very excited about that and I’m also very excited to be coming back out and playing for the fans out there. I’m looking forward to it so much, singing those songs that I love so much and haven’t done in a while. I’m really, really looking forward to being able to play in the new Las Vegas Arena. I hear it’s just unbelievable. I can’t wait."

Cold Beer Conversation, which was released on Friday, September 25, 2015, two days after the press conference, is the first new studio album in two years from the MCA Nashville recording artist. His last studio album was the Gold-certified Love is Everything, which featured the Platinum-certified No. 1 hit (and 60th No. 1 hit of his career) “Give It All We Got Tonight” as well as the Gold-certified hit “I Got A Car.” Strait also released The Cowboy Rides Away: Live from AT&T Stadium CD and DVD in 2014, celebrating his mega-successful, two-year final tour.

“I had no particular inspiration for this album outside of making great music,” Strait responded in answer to my question. “I don’t really have to be inspired; I’m inspired to make music all the time. I wrote three or four things and wrote some with others. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done because I always think that.”

With 60 No. 1 singles and more than 68.5 million records sold in a career spanning more than three decades, George Strait is a musical legend and the most-nominated artist in CMA Awards history. He was the first country music artist honored with Billboard’s “Legend of Live” Award, and he earned 2013’s “Entertainer of the Year” title from the Country Music Association as well as 2014’s “Entertainer of The Year’ title from the Academy of Country Music.

Strait, who lists Merle Haggard and George Jones among his heroes, admitted that he’s had plenty of time off and joked that he has been working on his golf game and doing a little fishing. But, in truth, he is always trying to find song ideas because he knows that there are going to be future projects down the road.

“I’m not going to change,” he maintained. “This is who I’ve been since the 70s. It’s who I am. I didn’t want to have just one or two records – I wanted to be making records 30 years later, as I’m doing now. There’s no formula. I just know a song that hits me when I hear it. The songs I’ve recorded over the years are not just a huge part of me – they ARE me. It’s what I’ve done forever.

“Las Vegas has been part of my country music career,” he added. “I played here pretty much during my whole career, most recently at the MGM Grand Garden. I think my first Vegas gig was at the Frontier. It was tough because you had to do two shows a night back then and I wasn’t ready for that. I liked playing the Las Vegas Hilton because I stayed in the Elvis Presley suite. We also filmed part of the movie Pure Country at the Mirage and I played there. After that, I played the Golden Nugget. In Vegas, you get fans from all over. I didn’t want to do the structured thing. With this, I ca do a couple of dates and then come home for a month or so.”

Grammy, ACM and CMA Award-winning singer/songwriter Kacey Musgraves, who recently released her second studio album to critical acclaim, will be appearing with Strait at the Las Vegas Arena.

Las Vegas has become the newest country road for George Strait.

This article appears courtesy of Vegas Insider

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