Friday, July 31, 2009

George Strait sings "El Rey" in Spanish on new album Twang

Gabe Garcia: "He grew up around a lot of Spanish speaking people and a lot of Spanish bands"

Pierce Greenberg writes at The 9513 that George Strait's new album Twang features a Spanish-language track, "El Rey," which means, "The King." Strait is popularly known as The King of Country.

The 9513 explores the history of "El Rey" and its songwriter Jose Alfredo Jimenez, and "the prevalence of Mexican culture in country music," citing country music historian Don Cusic:
The Mexican influence on country music extends from the clothing (colorful) to the music, via Texas. The image of the cowboy is strong in both–and George Strait is certainly part of that culture. The cattle culture, horses, saddles, lariats and all that is heavily influenced by Mexico.
The article also mentions Hispanic country musicians such as Freddy Fender, Rick Trevino, and Nashville Star runner-up Gabe Garcia. According to the story:
Garcia grew up 15 minutes from Strait’s hometown, in Pearsall, Texas, and knows the Hispanic influence is strong around those parts.

“He grew up around a lot of Spanish speaking people and a lot of Spanish bands,” said Garcia. “That’s part of being from South Texas. That’s the culture down there.”
The Straight cover of "El Rey" will be released with the full album Twang on August 11. There is a link to hear the entire song at the end of the article at The 9513.

There have been three Hispanic top finishers in the country music TV competition Nashville Star on USA/NBC: Gabe Garcia, Melanie Torres, and John Arthur Martinez. Julio Iglesias Jr. won the CMT show Gone Country. Read those stories, and learn about the country music industry's efforts to target the Hispanic audience, at

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