There is a debate among many country fans. It has sparked deep discussion and heated arguments. The question at the center of that debate seems like a simple one. Who is the GOAT of modern country music? Is it Alan Jackson or George Strait?
It’s a fair question. They both have a wide range of hit singles and records. At the same time, they both hold true to their country roots. On one hand, George Strait is the archetype of popular Texas country music. You can hear the influences of Texas legend Bob Wills running through his discography. On the other hand, Alan Jackson is one hell of a songwriter. Many of his songs are autobiographical or come straight from his heart. It’s a tough one. The Outsider Twitter following has been discussing it for a few days now.
However, we’ve unearthed some video evidence that finally answers the question once and for all. After all the debates, tweets, opinions, and long video essays, one four-minute video has cracked the code.
Alan Jackson and George Strait Sharing a Stage – The Real Country Music GOAT
Alan Jackson and George Strait have shared the stage several times. However, Jackson joining Strait to sing “Murder on Music Row,” on Strait’s The Cowboy Rides Away tour might just be the best moment in modern country music.
Firstly, you get the greatness of both George Strait and Alan Jackson. Both are neotraditional country artists. So, they bring the sounds and subject matter that make up the soul of country music wherever they go. Their live performances, whether separately or together, show why the debate rages. Decades after they kicked off their careers, they’re still at the top of their game.
On top of that, the song that Alan Jackson and George Strait shared on that stage is both a middle finger to pop country and a love letter to traditional country music.
“Murder on Music Row” was originally recorded by the bluegrass group Larry Cordell and Lonesome Standard Time. The song talks about how the rise of pop-infused country slowly killed traditional country music. The sentiment is just as relevant today as it was when it was originally cut in 1999.
George Strait and Alan Jackson first covered the song at the 1999 CMA Awards. They then recorded it for Strait’s 2000 Latest Greatest Straitest Hits album. Strait never released the song as a single. It was, however, the B-side to his 2000 single “Go On.” “Murder on Music Row,” broke into the top 40 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart from unsolicited radio play. Later that same year, it won the CMA Award for Vocal Event of the Year. So, the track definitely struck a chord with country fans and critics alike.
Who gets a top-40 hit and a CMA award for a song that was never released as a single? The GOAT, that’s who. The debate has been settled. You’re welcome.