At the 2018 New Orleans Superdome during Bayou Country Superfest, George Strait covered a couple of songs by other country music legends. Previously, we heard the King of Country's emotionally heavy rendition of Merle Haggard's "Are The Good Times Really Over (I Wish A Buck Was Still Silver)," and now, we're treated to Strait's version of "Old Violin," a Johnny Paycheck cover. The song has been covered by numerous greats over the years including Daryle Singletary and Lee Brice. Strait's version is so good; we definitely want to hear the song covered by more artists. (maybe Blake Shelton?)
The Johnny Paycheck found success with the country song in 1986 while he was in the process of appealing the prison sentence he received for shooting a man in Ohio. (He said it was in self-defense.) Paycheck's inner turmoil is laid out in the lyrics to "Old Violin" in a way that's painfully relatable to listeners. And despite the massive crowd in the New Orleans arena, George Strait singing the classic song makes it feel deeply personal for anyone willing to connect with the music.
"We give our all to music/ And soon, we'll give our life," Strait sang, closing the stunning cover that included a poignant crying fiddle chiming in to add to the already rich storytelling. Once fans see the recording of this cover, they're going to keep their fingers crossed that Strait keeps it in his set for upcoming shows.
The "Amarillo By Morning" singer's recent tour is going strong through 2019 following strong performances at the BOK Center in Tulsa, the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, and the Bayou Country Superfest that also included sets by Chris Stapleton and Little Big Town. Strait is debuting some new music on his tour including "Kicked Outta Country."
In case you need more, here's another performance by Strait singing the Johnny Paycheck classic in Las Vegas, NV.
This post was originally published on June 6, 2018.