He's been crowned country-music royalty -- and is enshrined in the Country Music Hall of Fame -- and now the King, George Strait, is set to embark on a two-year tour that will, he says, be his last. The Cowboy Rides Away tour will kick off Jan. 18, 2013, and is set to run through 2014. The 40-city trek begins in Lubbock, Texas. (See the first set of tour dates below.)

At a press conference at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's Ford Theater Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 26), George expounded on the already obvious significance of the tour name, christened after his 1985 hit.

"It's the song we've closed our show with for years," he told the audience. "I've done a lot of neat things in my career. My band and I went to Camp David with President Bush before he left office and Clinton came in, and we played it for him."

As to the timing of the tour, the entertainer, who turned 60 last May, said, "I always had it in the back of my mind, when I turned 60 it might be the time to start thinking about it. I didn't want to book a tour where nobody came."

Although he's retiring from touring at the end of the two years, George added, "In 2016, I might say, 'What a dummy.' If that's the case, I'll reconsider."

Joining the Texan on his tour will be his previous tour mate, Martina McBride, who was also on hand for the event.

Getty Images for George Strait
Getty Images for George Strait

"The good news for me is get to see 20 George Strait shows next year," she said, adding that when she's not onstage, she'll probably be found in the audience with George's wife, Norma, drinking wine.

"I'm a huge fan, you know that," an emotional Martina told George, acknowledging that she was holding back tears. "Being part of this tour is really a career highlight for me."

George stressed that he isn't retiring, and that as long as Mike Dungan, the head of his record label, Universal Music Group, wants him to record, he has no plans to stop making new music. In fact, George plans to return to Nashville in October to begin work on his next album, explaining that it has been his longest time between recording projects since 1981, so he's anxious to get back in the studio. He also said that other special guests may join him on the tour from time to time.

With 59 No. 1 hits to his credit thus far, he may have a hard time deciding what to do during his final concerts, but once the tour is over, he has a few ideas with regard to what will fill his days.

"I have a new grandson so we'll certainly be spending a lot of time with him. I'll try and steal him away from his parents, maybe take him fishing."

He noted, however, that the 8-month old may still be a little young for fishing.

George Strait, The Cowboy Rides Away 2013 Tour Dates:

Jan. 18, Lubbock, Texas, United Spirit Arena

Jan. 19, Oklahoma City, Okla., Chesapeake Energy Arena

Jan. 25, Salt Lake City, Utah, Energy Solutions Arena

Jan. 26, Nampa, Idaho, Idaho Center

Jan. 31, Sacramento, Calif., Power Balance Pavilion

Feb. 1, Fresno, Calif., Save Mart Center

Feb. 2, Las Vegas, Nev., MGM Grand Garden Arena

Feb. 15, St. Paul, Minn., Xcel Energy Center

Feb. 16, Grand Forks, N.D., Alerus Center

Feb. 22, Buffalo, N.Y., First Niagara Center

Feb. 23, Hartford, Conn., XL Center

Mar. 1, Knoxville, Tenn., Thompson-Boling Arena

Mar. 2, Lexington, Ky., Rupp Arena

Mar. 17, Houston, Texas, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo*

Mar. 22, Greenville, S.C., Bi-Lo Center

Mar. 23, Greensboro, N.C., Greensboro Coliseum Complex

Apr. 5, Albuquerque, N.M., The Pit

Apr. 6, Las Cruces, N.M., Pan American Center

Apr. 12, N. Little Rock, Ark., Verizon Arena

Apr. 13, New Orleans, La., New Orleans Arena

Jun. 1, San Antonio, Texas, Alamodome**

*previously announced tour date featuring Martina McBride and the Randy Rogers Band.

** On Sale TBD

Additional markets will be announced for 2013 and 2014. For more information on George Strait and for tour updates, please visit www.GeorgeStrait.com.

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