McCreery’s intention with writing this song was to show his appreciation for Strait and the impact he had on his own career from a young age. As a result, McCreery got something more rewarding than any award or No. 1 spot on the charts; he received recognition and words of appreciation from Strait himself.
“Damn Strait” was the last single released off McCreery’s Same Truck album, which dropped last September. Not only did he earn a retweet from Strait, but he also received a personal note from the king of Country.
“George is George. He doesn’t have to do anything, you know? He’s the King,” McCreery told Taste of Country. “But man, he saw [the song] and wrote back to us separately, like, ‘Man, I love it. Thanks for the tribute.’ And then he tweeted it out. I loved all that.”
McCreery and Strait already had a bit of history between them, prior to this song being written. Before the “Five More Minutes” singer-songwriter made a name for himself in the industry, he was just another fan passionate about country music. Strait was actually his first country music concert ever and seeing him live inspired McCreery to think, “I’m gonna do that one day.” He manifested his superstardom that began on American Idol in 2011. During his time as a contestant on the singing competition show, McCreery actually got the chance to perform a love song chosen by Strait – “Check Yes or No.”
Many other artists have mentioned Strait in their own music, such as Tim McGraw’s “Give It To Me Strait,” Brooks & Dunn’s “Play Something Country,” Eric Church’s “Love Your Love the Most,” Gabby Barrett’s “Pick Me Up” and more. This was McCreery’s time to show his appreciation towards the icon.
It only made sense to put the focus of the music video on Strait’s musical journey. The first step was choosing a place that held meaning for the “Give It Away” singer-songwriter. McCreery and his team did just that when they chose to shoot in Gruene Hall.
“‘Damn Strait’ is both a classic country heartbreak song as well as a tribute to George Strait,” McCreery shared upon the release of the video,” McCreery shared in a previous press release ahead of the music video. “I knew I wanted to film it at a place that paid respect to both elements of the song. When my director Jeff Ray suggested Gruene Hall, where George performed regularly with his Ace in the Hole Band before becoming the legend that he is today, I knew that was the perfect location.”
This was an unforgettable experience for McCreery, as it would be for any major Strait fan.
“You can feel the history and the music of country music’s past and present in every inch of that venue,” he added. “I’ve wanted to visit Gruene Hall for a long time, and now that I have, I’m looking forward to eventually coming back there to do a show.”
With all the buzz around these artists, it’s hard not to wonder if there could be a collaboration in the future or a re-recorded version of “Damn Strait” adding on Strait’s vocals. McCreery noted that if given the opportunity to make that happen, “it’d be awesome,” but also realizes that Strait singing the lyrics about himself might sound a bit out of place.
“I don’t know how much he’s doing that kind of stuff. But it would be cool,” McCreery shared. “He’d have to be somewhat cursing himself! But I think he could do it in a cool manner.”
They might not be on a texting-on-a-regular-basis level yet, but there’s definitely potential for the budding friendship to blossom into something more one day.
“I do not have the King’s number,” he adds with a laugh, when asked if the two ever text, “But maybe this song will do that. Maybe.”