Parker McCollum is carrying the country music torch George Strait lit with a cover of the legendary singer’s 1997 single, “Carrying Your Love With Me.” The Texas-born singer released the cover on Friday, March 11.

“Impossible to truly do this song justice but when I got the opportunity to try I just couldn’t pass it up,” he wrote on social media upon the song’s release.

McCollum’s version mirrors Strait’s original with the use of traditional country guitar, pedal steel and fiddle. The cover does feature some slight modern updates, however, as it nixes the use of piano and implements more subtle background vocals. Overall, the cover maintains the integrity of the original track while McCollum’s yearning voice tells the committed love story.

McCollum released the cover one day after a fan on Twitter called him the “next George,” a compliment that he appreciated, but didn’t necessarily agree with. 

“I appreciate the thought of this more than you know, but there is no next George Strait,” he writes. “That’s a one time deal man. Nobody will ever do what he did. There will only ever be one King.”

McCollum performed his hit song, “Pretty Heart,” at the 2022 ACM Awards on Monday, March 7. The 29-year-old took home the award for New Male Artist of the Year at the show. McCollum is also busy planning for his wedding to fiancee Hallie Ray Light, and he says they will dance to another classic George Strait song, “I Cross My Heart,” for their first dance.

Strait released “Carrying Your Love With Me” as the second single from his album of the same name. The song reached the No. 1 spot and is considered one of the singer’s most essential tunes from the 1990s.

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