The early career years of country music king George Strait
BY LAURA PELLERINE
When it comes to the archetypal cowboy, George Strait fits the stereotype down to a tee. He grew up on a Texas ranch, knows how to rope a steer, wears his Wranglers starched, and is rarely seen without his Resistol hat. He’s got the love of a good woman (he’s been with wife Norma for almost 40 years), is a hard worker (he’s had 57 number one hits) and is musically influenced by “the greats”: Merle Haggard and George Jones.
To the outside world, he is known for being shy—a reputation that longtime friends and crewmates, Tommy Foote and Mike Daily say is not without merit.
Tommy Foote is Strait’s road manager. Back in the “old days” he was the drummer for Ace in the Hole—the band that has been Strait’s touring band since before his manager Erv Woolsey got him signed onto MCA Records. Mike Daily is another original Ace in the Hole band member, he plays the steel guitar.
Both Foote and Daily get nostalgic when talking about their early years. “We were young, doing what we loved to do. It was the best time of my life,” Foote says. When Foote, Daily, Ron Cabal, and Terry Hale were college students, they were in a band called Stoney Ridge.
“We had four band members, but no singer. We auditioned a few people, but none of them worked quite right,” Daily says. “We had a bulletin board in the student centre at the college where we posted signs saying ‘Looking for a singer,’ George saw it and auditioned.”