The second weekend of this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival just wrapped up. Thousands of music lovers converged on Austin’s Zilker Park from across the country. Those who came saw a long and varied list of performers. However, George Strait was the highlight of the festival for many attendees. After all, many consider him the King of Country Music, and the Texas native was right at home in Austin. It was, undoubtedly, a killer show. In one clip, Strait plays “Waymore’s Blues,” by Waylon Jennings.
Now, I didn’t know that I needed to hear George Strait covering Waylon when I got up this morning. Apparently, though, that’s exactly what I needed in my life. This isn’t just a great performance. It’s one Texas legend paying tribute to another on their home soil. Of course, neither George nor Waylon hail from Austin, but with names that big, the whole state of Texas will claim them as hometown boys. Check out the video below and you’ll realize it’s just what you needed, too.
To me, the best part about the performance is that George Strait doesn’t try to replicate Waylon’s voice. He makes the song his own for a few minutes. At the same time, The Ace in the Hole Band nails every note of the foot-tapping tune.
George Strait Has Always Been a Bit of an Outlaw
George Strait is one of the most successful musicians of all time. In the world of country music, he is a legend. For a time, you’d be hard-pressed to turn on a country station and not hear his voice within the hour. As a result, many listeners don’t see the connection between Strait and Outlaw Country. It’s there, though. Follow me on this.
In his autobiography, Waylon Jennings said “For us, ‘outlaw’ meant standing up for your rights, your own way of doing things.” That’s it. That’s the distilled essence of Outlaw Country. It’s easy to see how George Strait fits that description.
When Strait hit the scene in the eighties, country was already going pop. In fact, Saving Country Music reported that suits at MCA wanted him to change his name and lose the cowboy hat. They wanted to shape him into another cog in the Nashville machine. However, George Strait wasn’t having any of that. Instead, he stuck to making music that he wanted to make.
George Strait stuck to his guns and his Texas roots. As a result, he along with guys like Randy Travis and Alan Jackson sparked a resurgence of traditional country music.
So, is George Strait a hard-living, hard-partying wild man? Of course not. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have a little Outlaw cred, in the purest form of the term. This performance is a great nod to that spirit.