The Cowboy Prepares to Ride Away: George Strait Announces His Touring Retirement

Today country legend George Strait -- King George around these parts -- announced during a live YouTube broadcast from Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame that he is hanging up his touring boots and saddle after decades on the road.

Strait is still slated to close out RodeoHouston's 2013 season on March 17 with Martina McBride and the Randy Rogers Band at Reliant Stadium.

A clip featuring Dierks Bentley, Blake Shelton, Ronnie Dunn, Reba McEntire, Alan Jackson, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, and Clay Walker singing Strait's praises proceeded the announcement, which was streamed live on Facebook.

"I have decided I am not going to tour anymore, but I will still make records," said Strait, in his uniform of a starched yellow button-up, jeans, and cowboy hat.

"After the last date in 2014, that's it for the touring," he added.

Strait will be going on a two-year farewell tour before riding off into the sunset, visiting cities that meant a lot to him over his career along the way. "The Cowboy Rides Away Tour" will be a hella hot ticket, to say the least.

He ruled out a Las Vegas residency, a la Garth Brooks, with a chuckle. Brooks himself has said in interviews that once his children all graduated high school that he would start zeroing in on his own return to the touring stage.

I can hear you all rolling your eyes through the computer.

Strait added that after he turned 60 in May that the idea of leaving the touring grind sounded better and better, but he did joke that in 2016 he could totally change his mind. Being a grandpa, playing golf, and fishing more were all mentioned as possible new Strait ventures.

Pulling a Jay-Z already, King George?

Recording on a new album will begin in October. He said that the stretch from the recording of 2011's Here For a Good Time, his 39th album, was his longest stretch away from tracking since 1981.

The 20 or so dates announced Wednesday (which probably all just immediately sold out) will precede what should be a massive two-year trek, and Strait will no doubt hit Houston at least one more time after his RodeoHouston stand.

We hope.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty