Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pop on the Rocks

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Pop on the Rocks

Article excerpt

'I want to reach the point where people hear my name and immediately think of real country music," George Strait once told an interviewer. There is no question now that Strait has reached that goal, and then some.

At a time when commercial country music is teetering on the brink of completely losing its roots and soul, Strait, 44, is one superstar who has held his hard-country ground. He moves with real style through both Western swing and honky-tonk. Even when he takes on a pop ballad, his intelligence and integrity always bring the song back down home.

When the man in the hat last pulled into town last March 8 at the Kiel Center, he sold out the enormo-dome within a few hours. His upcoming show this Friday at the Kiel duplicated that feat, a testament to his enduring appeal. It's well worth taking a look at the singular strength of George Strait, the artist. Here's a very abbreviated look at one of today's stellar country singers, and why he matters. This hat ain't no act Strait has earned the right to wear his Resistol. He was born in Poteet, Texas, on May 18, 1952, and reared in nearby Pearsall. He grew up doing the real cowboy deal -- roping, riding, branding, etc. -- on his grandparents' 2,000-acre ranch. After high school, he eloped with wife Norma, the woman he is still married to today. You're in the Army now After a brief college stint at South west Texas State University, Strait joined the service in 1971 and logged three years in the Army. He was stationed in Hawaii, and it was there that he joined a country band on base. The roots of my raising During his Army tour, Strait became consumed with the music of the great country titans Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell, George Jones and Merle Haggard. Most of all, it was the music of Haggard that showed Strait the light. Hats off to Hag Now, a moment of respect for the great Merle Haggard. …

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