Everything We Know About George Strait’s ‘Cold Beer Conversation’
George Strait is nothing short of a country music legend. With 60 No. 1 singles to his name, more than 68.5 million records sold and the title of most-nominated artist in CMA Awards history, he's a force to be reckoned with -- and has certainly earned his distinction as the King of Country.
And the King still has some tricks up his sleeve. In a huge, unexpected, surprise announcement on Sept. 22, Strait revealed his plans for a brand-new album, Cold Beer Conversation, as well as a run of shows in Las Vegas.
“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,” Strait says in a press release. “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 in the studio thinking that way, so I’m very excited about that ..."
We're excited about it, too -- as are millions of other country music fans.
Strait's surprise new album will be called Cold Beer Conversation. It is also the name of the disc's second track and second single.
The Release Date
Strait is releasing Cold Beer Conversation on Sept. 25, 2015 -- just three days after his big announcement. It is available for pre-order via iTunes and will also be available on Apple Music and through Walmart.
However, Strait notes, it was never his intention to drop this record on such short notice.
"I recorded [this] album shortly after [my "final show"], once we finished getting the live album and the CMT special done. Shortly after that, two or three months, and I was in the studio working on this record," he tells USA Today. "... The album has been done for a while. I think MCA was just waiting for this opportunity to release it. But I wasn't hiding the fact that I'd done it, at all."
The Record Label
Strait's new record is part of a five-album deal that he signed with longtime label MCA in 2013.
“In 1981, when I signed with MCA Records, it seems like yesterday,” Strait recalls. “I think I’ve been at MCA longer than most people in this room have.”
The Album Cover
The album's cover is something of a collage. Different mediums make up a headshot of Strait wearing his signature cowboy hat, along with the artist's name and the album's title. Two beer bottles are also displayed -- because you can't have a "cold beer conversation" with just one person drinking, can you?
"Cold Beer Conversation" is the second song on the album, and also its title track. It's straightforward and easy on the ears ... and perhaps reminds Strait of his younger years.
“Cold beer conversation / Just a couple of boys / A little time well wasted / Tryin’ to figure out life / Tryin’ to figure out girls / Tryin’ to find our places in this crazy ol’ world,” Strait sings in the chorus, adding, “A little truth / A little frustration / Cold beer conversation.”
Strait dropped "Cold Beer Conversation" to country radio on Sept. 23 -- less than 24 hours after his big announcement -- but it's actually the record's second single. He released "Let It Go" (nope, not a Frozen cover) in April.
Cold Beer Conversation features 13 songs, including Strait's latest single, "Cold Beer Conversation," and the disc's first single, "Let It Go."
"The song that means the most to me is "Everything I See,"" Strait tells Rolling Stone Country, "because we wrote it about my dad after he passed away."
George Strait, Cold Beer Conversation Track Listing:
1. “It Was Love”
2. “Cold Beer Conversation”
3. “Let It Go”
4. “Goin’ Goin’ Gone”
5. “Something Going Down”
6. “Take Me to Texas”
7. “It Takes All Kinds”
8. “Stop and Drink”
9. “Everything I See”
10. “Rock Paper Scissors”
11. “Wish You Well”
12. “Cheaper Than a Shrink”
13. “Even When I Can’t Feel It”
Cold Beer Conversation includes songs written by Jamey Johnson (who also sings backup on "Cheaper Than a Shrink," one of the songs he wrote), Brandy Clark, Bill Anderson, Strait’s son Bubba, Shane McAnally and many more.
"I'm so proud he took an interest in the music business," Strait says of his son. "For the longest time, he didn't. His focus was rodeo. That's all he wanted to do. Once he decided to move on, he decided to get into music. He took it pretty seriously and pushed me back into writing songs as well."
Strait himself is listed in the songwriting credits on three songs: "Let It Go," "It Takes All Kinds" and "Everything I See."
"I think it's important for an artist to write," the country icon says. "I thought it was important when I started. I started out writing songs, then got lazy about it, because I found so many great songs from other writers in town. I really regret that. I wish I had continued to write my whole career."
The album was produced by Chuck Ainlay and Strait for George Strait Productions.
The Time Since His Previous Album
Cold Beer Conversation will be Strait's first new studio album in two years. It's the follow-up disc to his gold-certified 2013 album, Love Is Everything. On that album, "Give It All We Got Tonight" and "I Got a Car" were certified platinum and gold, respectively.
Even though Strait announced his final The Cowboy Rides Away Tour in September of 2012 and played his "final show" in June of 2014, he never intended to completely stop playing live. Therefore, in April and September of 2016, Strait will perform a series of exclusive worldwide concert engagements at the new Las Vegas Arena; he'll be among the first entertainers to perform at the new venue. Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves will open for Strait.
"... I’m also very excited to be coming back out and playing for the fans out there," Strait says. "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."
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