Country Music News

George Strait's New Tour

Undeniably, one of music history's all-time living legends, George Strait
continues to whip us all back into country music reality -- just as 
we're about to step outside the circle. As if recording more than 20
albums, all of which have been certified either gold, platinum or multi-
platinum,scoring one radio hit after another, or starring in his own major 
motion picture isn't enough, the Prince of Country now has another luring 
adventure up his western sleeve. 

While George Strait has long been a country music festival and rodeo icon 
throughout Texas, he's now taking his spectacular live performance throughout 
the stadium circuit. Scheduled to kick off on March 14 at the Sun Devil Stadium 
in Phoenix, Arizona, the George Strait Country Music Festival, sponsored by
Chevy Trucks, Nokia and Wrangler, Strait's '98 Stadium Tour will also feature 
some other rather unusual highlights. 

Up and coming acts will have the opportunity to showcase their talent on
smaller-scale stages just outside the major-city stadiums, while Strait has 
invited such prominent country acts as Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Lee Ann Womack, 
John Michael Montgomery, Asleep At The Wheel and Lila McCann to share the stage 
with him -- creating a both surprising and thrilling multi-bill show. 

Additionally, fans who show up for the star-studded events will have an 
opportunity to browse through a festival area known as "Straitland." Chances 
are, Tennessee's popular music theme park, Dollywood, won't suffer, but 
Straitland does hope to offer something for everyone, including such attractions 
as various country lifestyle exhibits, vendors and all kinds of exciting games. 

Due to the tremendous success of ticket sales for the March 14th kick-off show, 
an additional 6,000 tickets are being sold. Tickets range from $25.00 to $45.00.
Additionally, the tour will make its way to Tampa, Florida on March 28th, New Orleans 
on April 4th, and Birmingham, Alabama on April 5th. Other tour dates will include such 
cities as Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Oakland, Atlanta,
Minneapolis, Denver, Detroit, Raleigh and Provo. Strait plans to close the tour with 
performances in his home state's Texas Stadium in Irving and the Rice Stadium in Houston. 

Strait has been churning out thick and chewy traditional country music since he formed 
his Ace In The Hole band in the 1970's. He's since recorded several multi-platinum albums, 
including his release of Pure Country, the five-million-plus selling soundtrack from his 
1992 Pure Country movie, in which he starred. His Strait Out Of The Box project remains to
be the best selling country boxed set of all time, and is tied for second best selling in 
all genres with Led Zeppelin (surpassed only by Bruce Springsteen). Having already won 
countless music industry awards and honors and scoring such classic hits as "Carrying
Your Love With Me," "Blue Clear Sky," "One Night At A Time," "You Know Me Better Than That" 
and "The Chair," he's been ranked as one of the Top 10 of America's Favorite Singers 
joining the ranks of Frank Sinatra and Whitney Houston. 

Strait's 1996 concerts broke attendance records set earlier by Hank Williams Sr., Elvis
Presley and several other records set previously by himself. Throughout the 1990's, his 
concerts, all of which resulted in phenomenal sell-outs, ignited the whole fastest-sell-
out-time fascination that we're so used to hearing about now with a select few other
entertainers. In '96, Strait sold over 33,000 tickets for three shows in Phoenix in less 
than two hours. At the Astrodome he broke his own attendance record, playing to 125,000 
people in two shows. He's now played to over 1 million fans just at the Astrodome's
annual rodeo.


Lila McCan is future of Country

Direct. Open. Honest past the point of pain. If the
future is coming at you, so is Lila McCann. And her
first single, "Down Came A Blackbird," from her
Asylum Records debut, Lila, gives the country a first
look at what sets her apart. 

While McCann's unabashedly down-to-earth persona
gives her a freshness that's as charming as it is
beguiling, it's her voice that draws you in. Equal parts
honey and cayenne, her incredible range doesn't just
bowl you over with its power as much as it swathes
you in the melodies she embraces and the emotions
that define her range. 

"To me, the songs I've always liked are the ones I've
felt--and I know everybody says that," she demures.
"But I think that while you may have the ability to hit
the notes, it doesn't mean you're really singing the
song the way it's meant to be sung. And you need to
do that." 

Certainly McCann has come a long way from her
debut with her father's band at the tender age of four.
Back then, she was a precocious kid who didn't want
to be left out of the grown-ups' fun. Boldly she asked
if she could get up and sing. Her father, a career
military man who believes in letting people stretch
their limits, initially laughed. Her mother, a beautician,
convinced him that their blue-eyed baby girl was
serious, and he agreed to let her try. 

Of course, courage can be a fleeting commodity;
when it was time for McCann to sing "You Are My
Sunshine" at the local Elks Lodge, she was hiding in
the restroom. She had to be coaxed out with the
promise of a new Barbie doll to be purchased that
very evening (provided she was done with her song
before the store closed). 

"I was so scared," McCann recalls. "When the people
in the audience started clapping I put my hands over
my ears and told my dad to make them stop. That's
really changed. Now I can't wait to be on stage and I
sure don't want them to quit clapping!" 

In spite of the initial jitters, McCann took to singing
and entertaining with an ease that built into a need.
She balances her performing schedule with school,
equally committed to getting her education as well as
chasing her destiny. 

From the outer limits of the land of grunge, McCann
has grown up and into her talent. And entering the
studio with a heart this unencumbered, McCann
brings a fearlessness to the songs she sings that makes
the emotion behind them burn true. With the passion
of youth, McCann enters the world of country music
with her heart on her sleeve and her faith in the power
of a song. She has updated the classic country themes
of love lost and found with a vitality that ensures
country music's traditions will be guarded and
reinvigorated long into the 21st century.

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