George Strait may have retired from touring, but the country icon is far from hanging up his hat. At a recent gathering to promote tequila brand Codigo 1530, the King spoke with a reporter about his influence on the country genre and the ever-changing sound of country music.

"I don't see a lot of my influence out there in country music today, out there being played on the radio," he tells the Dallas Observer. "The country music scene is always changing, and the music is always changing. I've seen the pendulum swing this way and back this way. It's very country, and then not so country. I think right now it's kind of trending back to more traditional country music, which is what I like and I like to do. So I'm glad to see that."

Strait says he knows how tough the industry can be, and while he might not listen to today's country radio, he won't put anybody down for having success in the business. As far as the transition from traditional country to pop country, he says it's a natural evolution for the genre.

"When I got signed at MCA Records in 1981, you had all kinds of things going on, shows like Pop Goes the Country," he recalls. "The thing was to get a crossover hit, and that would sell more records. They wanted a pop sounding country song to get the pop music lovers and country music people to buy it. And I never was into any of that. But I came around at the right time. Traditional country music kind of came back and there were a lot of artists who started doing it, like me, Alan Jackson, Randy Travis."

Strait does give props to his Las Vegas opening act Kacey Musgraves, saying "she's got it wired."

"She doesn't need any advice from me," the icon adds. "She's a very good songwriter, very good performer, singer."

The superstar's Las Vegas run continues with two shows in December and five weekends in 2017. Strait will release a new box set — a follow-up to Strait Out of the Box from 1995 — on Nov. 18.

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