January 10, 2022

Outsiders Radio Episode #80

AIR DATE: October 2021

SHOW THEME: The King & The Chief

ERIC: Hey everybody, it’s Eric Church back for the eightieth episode of “Outsiders Radio.”  We’ve had a great time back on the road for the past few weeks.  Just being back in those buildings filled with all you fans has been a great experience.  Next week, we’re doing something VERY special, something I’ve looked forward to for a while.  It’s a long overdue reunion with The King: George Strait.  They’re calling it The King & The Chief, and it takes place November 5th at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.  The last time I did a show with George was in 2014, during his Cowboy Rides Away tour.  This is ONE of the songs we did.

 An unforgettable night, AT&T Stadium in Dallas June 7th, 2014.  At that time, George was adamant that he wasn’t retiring, that he’d continue to make music and do shows.

Strait: I do feel like I do have something to say, I feel like I have a lot of songs in me to write. I have a lot of ideas I want to get out there. I still feel relevant in this business.  I feel like I can sing as good as I ever good.  My band is great, I love playing with them every night we play with them.  So I can’t see myself not being a part of this. I wanna get my records out there, if they play em, that’s great. My fans would love to hear em.   If not, it is what it is. But I’m still gonna play em and I’m still gonna make em.

We’re spotlighting George Strait this week on Outsiders Radio.  Chris Stapleton has a unique relationship with George Strait.  He’s written hit songs for him, AND he’s opened shows for him.  In fact he’ll do a show with George in a few weeks in Minneapolis.  Chris described his special bond with The King.

Chris: Well I love George. He’s always been nice to me, he’s recorded my songs, and had me sing on them too when he did record them, we got to know each other a little bit better here in the last little bit. You wanna look at George as someone who’s always been George Strait. He found his lane, and he has such an enviable degree of longevity in a career. I look at him, we always mainly talk about life things when we’re hanging out. He & his wife has always been kind to me & my wife. He’s somebody who I look up to in terms of how he carries himself and how he presents himself and how he musically has kept being him. I don’t think he’s wavered from that, it’s not an easy thing to do. It’s easy to see something else working, but he’s always been comfortable being George Strait, and there’s a lesson in that.

A reminder that Chris Stapleton will join George Strait in Minneapolis in a couple weeks.  I’m Eric Church and we’ll be playing with The King next week in Atlanta.  My good friend Ashley McBride has played a bunch of shows with George over the years, including a few weeks for his residency in Las Vegas.  She recalls she had to get used to his stage.

 Ashley: We did 6 shows in the round with George Strait. The first time we looked like scared little lab mice, we had no idea where to go in the maze. The second time our equipment was better and our show was better. The next times we knew how to use that stage. It’s a little squirrely getting around other people’s equipment, because it’s a diamond shaped in the round stage, at four different corners. There’s really no predicting anything. Its basically like a fire drill.  No one stands in front of a microphone and sings and plays with much poise & grace as George Strait.

That’s the new duet with Carly Pearce & Ashley McBryde.  Ashley will join George Strait when he plays the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo in February.

One highlight of doing a show with George is VISITING with him on his bus.  When I opened for him in Omaha back in 2014, he invited me & my wife on his bus.  We got to talking about music, and I mentioned James Brown. George says, ‘I love James Brown!’  So I say, ‘Let’s play some James Brown.’  So we did, and the next thing I know, there’s George Strait & my wife dancing on his bus to James Brown.  It’s a memory I’ll never forget.

Blake Shelton did a couple stadium shows with George in 2019, and he also got to visit George on the bus, but he doesn’t remember what happened after that.

Blake: Just like I hoped, we got that invitation to go up on the bus and hang out with him, and I literally, I don’t remember leaving, and it wasn’t very long, I was so excited, I was just drinking my face off, I was super-pumped, and hopefully I’ll get a chance to do that again.

Blake Shelton and a song that actually name-checks George Strait called “Country On the Radio.”  Speaking of name-checks, I have a song with a line that says I love “any song sung by George Strait.” We don’t do this one very often, but here it is.

I love any song sung by George Strait, and we’ll get a night of them on November 5th when I join George for our show November 5th in Atlanta.  This will mark our first show together since June of 2014, when George ended his Cowboy Rides Away tour.  A lot of other country stars were there that night, including Jason Aldean.

         Jason: I got to do a couple shows with George Strait, and he called me on stage during his show to sing a couple songs.  I got to pick the songs, so I wanted to go back and play some classic George Strait.  So I sang ‘Nobody In His Right Mind Would Have Left Her’ and ‘Fool Hearted Memory.’

Jason Aldean with George Strait’s very first #1 song Fool Hearted Memory.  That was from George’s last show on his Cowboy Rides Away tour in 2014.  At the end of the show, all of us who were there joined George for THIS song.

George Strait & friends (including yours truly) together on one of George’s biggest hits: All My Ex’s Live In Texas. That show wrapped up his Cowboy Rides Away tour in 2014.  George & I will reunite on November 5th at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, and I’m really looking forward to it.  A few days later, on November 10th, we’ll be in Nashville for the 55th annual CMA Awards.  I’ll be performing, so I hope you’ll tune in.  I’m Eric Church, see you next time on Outsiders Radio.