Texans love George Strait, a simple truth so resoundingly evident in this magazine’s universe in the past thirty days that a bit of recapping is warranted: After previewing our June cover a week before its official release, the likes (11,180), shares (12,690), and RTs (182) came fast and furious. When we told the story behind the making of that cover, the tale was the month’s fourth-most-visited page on texasmonthly.com. And in the week that followed, when senior editor John Spong posted his exclusive with Dean Dillon, the epic songwriter behind such classics as “The Chair” and “Marina del Rey,” refrains like this poured in: “The best songwriter to ever write a George Strait song!” To borrow a sentiment we heard time and again this month: Long live the King.
And now a sampling of feedback from our readers.
As a longtime reader of Texas Monthly, I have enjoyed many celebrity features in your magazine, but none was as well done as this one! John Spong captured the pure essence of George Strait [“The Last Ride of King George”]. I was captivated and didn’t want the article to end. This issue is a keeper!
Betty Harrison, via email
This was the perfect cover picture for George Strait—straightforward, no frills, no clutter. Great job on the picture and the articles.
J. David Bowie, Dennis, Massachusetts
Good Lord, he’s still gorgeous.
@slimt1213, via Twitter
I need this blown up. Framed. On my wall. NOW.
@msalishaanne, via Twitter
Arguably the best Texas Monthly cover ever. Good job, King George.
@texassevy, via Twitter
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love your cover and story. The back cover had been damaged by the post office, but the front cover was perfect, in more ways than one. My longtime friend Val and I saw the King last winter in Oklahoma City, and I totally understand the last paragraph that John Spong wrote. He talks about how much he and his wife love George and how he watched her face as she watched George in person. I felt those same feelings; those songs are the sound track of my life.
Toni Sellers Inglis, via email
Best photo ever on a Texas Monthly magazine. No words needed to go with it. It’s as though he’s telling us, “It’s just George, Strait from the heart.”
Lucy Johns, Floresville
The difference between a good song and a great one is George Strait. There have been many great country songs, and if you go back ten, twenty, thirty years to pick one of George’s and it still moves you or brings a tear to your eye, that’s a great one. I have never caught one of his concerts, but I’ve heard and enjoyed everything he has recorded. There never has been nor ever will be another person like George Strait.
Cecil Mosely, via email
To the only man who made my knees weak, long live King George!
V. Littlesun, Pawnee, Oklahoma
How could you have overlooked Strait’s recent recording of “El Rey” in flawless Spanish? ¡Que triste!
Jim Permenter, el paso
I grew up listening to country music through the kitchen radio and in my mother’s car. But after I moved to Austin, in 1994, I pretty much stopped listening to country radio. I always liked George but never considered myself a huge Strait fan. I read through the list of number ones and found myself singing every single song. Most every song was tied to a wonderful memory, and I knew all the words by heart. Thank you for reminding me of my youth, my love for country music, and that I don’t like George, I love him.
Keri Slater, via email
Congratulations on a fine tribute to a great Texan. I read with pride all the articles you printed. Regarding his list of number one hits, it seems improbable that his greatest song—and the ultimate western song—“Amarillo by Morning,” was not a number one. I realize it was early on, but that recording had to make Bob Wills sit up in his grave and applaud. The fiddle renditions on that record set the standard for all of country and western music. And George never sang anything better.
John Elliff, universal city
I grew up in South Austin, my dad was raised in Llano County, and my son grew up in Dallas. My son said George is one of the few performers that three generations can embrace. Love his music. Love his style. Keep the tunes coming, George.
Harold Simpson, via email
Every time your ultra-liberalism makes this longtime, 63-year-old East Texas subscriber think to cancel his hard copy and read the magazine online, you come up with another gem that I want to have lying around to reread at will.
George is, as written in your articles, a lot of folks’ ideal Texan. Having personal friends who have roped with him, hog-hunted with him, bought deer from him, had homes around the corner from his, and just had casual conversation with him, I feel sure that the words “pure,” “honest,” and “traditionalist” can’t do justice to his standing in Texas cultural history. You’ve got my subscription for a few more years.
J. D. Davis, huntsville
Stirring the Pot
The real issue is that prohibition of marijuana does not, cannot, and will not ever work [“War Without End”]! It’s not a question of whether pot will be legalized but a question of how soon and how many more people and families will be hurt by the madness called the drug war and marijuana prohibition.
Texas Hemp Campaign, via texasmonthly.com
What is ridiculous is that vets are having to deal with the aftermath on their own. I think that if marijuana helps them, they should do it, and no one should have anything to say about it. They’re willing to give it all to keep you and me free.
Cyndi Yates, via Facebook
The states that have made pot legal for medicinal purposes have not fallen into the pit of Reefer Madness. By all accounts, the sun still comes up, people still go to work, and folks who were previously in pain are feeling better. Make it legal for medical purposes and allow solid, peer-reviewed research to commence.
Jim Miller, via Facebook
Stevie Ray Vaughan’s music is amazing [“How Long Blues”]. My dad listened to him, I listen to him, and my son loves his music as well. Whether he’s inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or not, his music will live on forever. As for what Jimmie did with the estate, that’s his business and should not even be an issue!
Ichillin, via texasmonthly.com
Big brother Jimmie, thank you for stoically standing your ground for baby brother. Glad you never held a grudge against Stevie for sneaking your guitar and learning to play whenever you left the house!
Margie Mashek Davis, via texasmonthly.com
After reading “Where the Jest Begins,” I have yet to figure out the social value of ranking America’s funniest big cities. Still, I have a few comments: I immediately figured that Chicago, with its legendary improv-comedy scene, would be close to the top, but no way should it be number one. How can a town like Los Angeles, with thousands of comedy writers and more than 125 comedy-writing groups, not be the funniest big city? Heck, just the writers’ laughing at their own jokes makes for a lot of funny.
And how did Austin, host to our comedic state legislature, finish so far down the list? Spend a day watching our state lege in action and you’ll laugh for days.
And finally, about Fort Worth’s finishing last: as long as Dan Jenkins lives there and can peck out an article or a book on his typewriter, Fort Worth will be way closer to the top than the bottom.
Frank Matthews, Fort Worth
Failure to show up at comedy clubs implies to me that we get our humor amongst ourselves. This makes Fort Worth the funniest city around. Knowing the oddball sorts who thrive here personally (and perhaps being one myself), I’m not about to fall into this trap of false civic shame. We own you guys.
Chris Bellomy, via Facebook
I find it far more humorous that this is even worthy of space in your magazine. Instead of trying to be funnier, we should try to be angrier that someone paid for that stupidly humorous study!
Paula Beth Gough Higgins, via Facebook
German potato salad is my favorite food of all time [Vittles]! But only if it’s made right, i.e., like Mom’s. This recipe sounds pretty close!
Chrystal Galm Woodcock, via Facebook
This is the way Mammaw taught me to make it.
Beth Moore, via Facebook
Just wanted to thank you for your wonderful comments about Coach Simmons [The Texanist]. I was one of the lucky ones who had him for Texas history. They don’t make teachers like him anymore. What an example.
Janis Nasseri, Plano