For the past two and a half decades there has been one constant in country music: the presence of George Strait hit records.
From his first Number One song "Fool Hearted Memory" in early 1982 through his 51st "I Hate Everything" and right up to todayís "Youíll Be There," the words "George Strait" and "country hit" have been synonymous. In fact, he has scored more Number One songs than any other single artist in history and has sold over 62 million records in the meantime amassing 28 platinum or multi-platinum discs Ėmore than any other country artist. In addition, Strait has won over 40 major industry awards and along with his unprecedented 51 Number One hit singles, he leads the all-time Country Music Association (CMA) award nominations with 73 and can boast 19 Number One Country Albums (followed by Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson with 15 each). In 2003, he was inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and in 2004, received the National Medal of the Arts from President George W. Bush. He cares most about God, his family, his fans, and his music. "Iíve been very fortunate to have had such a long career in country music," says Strait. "I never really set out to have 51 Number Ones but Iím very proud of that fact. Iím going to continue, just as I always have, to try and make the best records I can and do the best shows I can." George Strait kicks off Somewhere Down in Texas with signature style in the lively beer-drenched number, "If the World was a Honky Tonk." In it, Strait sings, "Life would be a three chord song/And the king would be George Jones/If the whole world was a honky tonk." On the second track and the CDs namesake, some might get the idea that the Strait has been making plans to leave the road and head back to the ranch. Heís quick to clear that idea right up however, "No, absolutely not. Iím having way too much fun! Itís not like Iím retiring from the music business or anything, but it felt good for me and I really liked the song." Another remarkable track is "Seashores of Old Mexico," a song written by one of Straitís idols, Merle Haggard. "The Hag has always been one of my heroes," Strait says. "Heís such a talented individual and weíre lucky to be able to experience his talents first hand and not have to read about them like some people will years from now. I had been doing ĎSeashoresí off and on for years in my live show and decided to include it on my album." Strait has done very few duets and "Good News Bad News" is his first ever with a female artist. "I have wanted to do a duet with Lee Ann for a while," says Strait, "but I never felt like I had found a good enough song. The fact that itís a great song and she wrote it with Dean [Dillon] made the choice seem obvious." No one can deliver a love song better than George Strait and he notes that in the case of "Oh What a Perfect Day," this particular love song takes a different twist. "Itís one of those songs that goes, ĎYeah, I like it, Iím sittiní on the porch drinking coffee and listening to the rain fall on the roof, and I was gonna play golf but itís OK now, cause Iím sitting here with you.í" At the other end of the emotional spectrum lies an unusual telling of a romantic breakup in the Clint Daniels/Tony Martin song "Ready for the End of the World." Strait says of the song, "Itís a depressing song! But itís a great country song. I love the lines, ĎI know the end is near, Iíve seen the warning signs, been prepariní myself, layiní in supplies. I Bought a case of Jack, a box set of Merle,í I mean Iím getting ready for the end of the world here now." As for George Straitís future, it seems thereís no end in sight. "Iíve never been one to set a lot of goals for myself, but Iíve always been really motivated to improve on what Iíve done. I look forward to the future and what it will bring. Iím sure it will be challenging and fun."