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George Strait Suprises Country Radio at UMG CRS Luncheon

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It was an exciting moment on the Ryman Auditorium stage during the UMG/Nashville CRS lunch event Wednesday in Nashville (2/22).

UMG/Nashville’s Royce Risser and Luke Lewis present George Strait with a plaque commemorating his first No. 1 as a songwriter, “Here For A Good Time,” Strait’s surprise appearance to open the show drew multiple standing ovations.  The King performed “I’ll Always Remember You” and “Troubadour,” both of which featured backing guitarists Mac McAnally and Steve Gibson.

Other performers at the luncheon included Lee Ann Womack, who sang “Same Kind Of Different As Me.” The audience stomped to the rhythm of Drake White’s “What You Can’t Have” when he went mic-less mid-song. Randy Rogers Band (“If I Had Another Heart”), Randy Montana (“Little Rock And The Rain”), Josh Kelley (“It’s Your Move”) and Mallary Hope (“Black Widow Spider”) each premiered new music.

Laura Bell Bundy (“That’s What Angels Do”), Canaan Smith (“We Got Us”), Kip Moore (“Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck”), David Nail (“Sound Of A Million Dreams”), Easton Corbin (“Lovin’ You Is Fun”) and Josh Turner (“Time Is Love”) also performed new(ish) singles. “Your Man” songwriter and new UMGN artist Chris Stapleton preceded Turner with “Sometimes I Cry.”

Scotty McCreery made his Ryman debut with “You Make That Look Good,” while Lauren Alaina returned to the venerable stage for the first time since her American Idol audition with “Dirt Road Prayer.”   The concert’s second standing ovation went to Kacey Musgraves, who put her spin on small town living in “Merry Go ‘Round.”

Before singing “Red Words,” Vince Gill revealed that his appearance was a “thank you” to radio as he is no longer a UMG artist.

“For the first time in 30 years, I don’t have a record deal,” he said. “Don’t know that I want one. I’m just grateful for where I’ve been, and you’ve been a big part of where I’ve been and where I’m going. To my MCA family, it was really a sweet ride the last 23 years, and I appreciate everything you do.”

Lionel Richie and guest Luke Bryan closed the show with “Easy” and “Oh No.” “I’ve never been intimidated in my life,” Richie said before the set. “But in this case, Luke came to hotel and [he] knows my catalog better than I do.”

You can see all of CMTT’s photo from the luncheon on our Flick page by clicking here.

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