The King of Country Music announced two big surprises today: a new album and a return to the stage for the first time in almost two years.
George Strait will be among the first entertainers to play Las Vegas' new state-of-the-art arena in April 2016, returning to the venue again next September.
"Las Vegas has been a big part of my country music career," he said in a press conference today. "It's fun to play Vegas. . . The crowds are great and they come from all over the place, because there is so much to do here. A concert is kind of a bonus."
The news of his concerts comes a day before Strait is set to release a new single called "Cold Beer Conversation." A new album of the same name will be released this Friday, September 25th. Strait reports that he wrote "three or four" tracks on the project, sharing songwriting credits with such lauded country hitmakers as Dean Dillon, Bill Anderson, Jamey Johnson, Brandy Clark and Buddy Cannon.
"I always say this, I think it's one of the best records I've done, and I always shoot for that. You’ve got to go in the studio thinking that way," says Strait. "I'm inspired to make music all the time. There's no particular inspiration for this record, other than going out and making the best record I can make."
Through 2013 and 2014, Strait set out on the Cowboy Rides Away tour as a sort of farewell. He was quick to point out, though, that he wasn't done playing live shows, per se, only that he was done touring.
The Las Vegas Arena is being built on the south end of the famed Las Vegas Strip, and the 20,000 seat stadium is being used to try to lure top talent and a professional sports teams to Sin City. It's estimated to cost $375 million.
Strait's Vegas concert dates, also featuring Kacey Musgraves, are April 22nd and 23rd, and September 9th and 10th. Tickets got on sale October 2nd at StraitToVegas.com.
George Strait, Cold Beer and Conversation Track List: