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Joe Kelly Remembers Meeting George Strait

George Strait

A bit of sadness across country music yesterday as The King, George Strait, announced he’s retiring from touring.

“The Cowboy Rides Away Tour” will feature 20 concert dates in 2013, and 20 more in 2014. Strait says beyond that, he’ll still record and write.

I honestly don’t know if George Strait has ever played Atlantic City. I know he hasn’t been here from 1998 to the present. None of Strait’s 2013 concerts will be in our area (Connecticut is the closest). The 2014 concert dates have not yet been revealed.

I have met Strait on two different occasions, once when he played Philadelphia, the other when he played Las Vegas. He’s really about as quiet and down-to-earth as he seems. A very nice guy, but always friendly and easy going.

My favorite Strait moment occurred backstage in Las Vegas, I was having my photo taken with George. I asked him if I could wear his hat for the picture. He chuckled, said, “Sure” and put his hat on my head. (I should mention, I have asked Garth Brooks the same thing, and he, too, happily obliged.) Where’s the picture? Honestly, it came out all blurry, and it’s somewhere – I just don’t remember where.

I’ve been playing country music on the radio since 1983, and George Strait has been the one artist whose songs I’ve constantly played through my career. Godspeed, George….and keep up the great work!

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