Country Artists Relax for the Holidays

As Christmas rolls around, most country artists park the bus and take some time off to spend with family and friends. George Strait, feted recently in Nashville for selling 55 million albums, says he’ll hang a stocking in his beloved Texas. “I usually spend Christmas at the ranch, and we stay down there pretty much through December,” Strait says. “But I’m not sure this year if we’ll be there. We might be in San Antonio. Last year we missed it there. We went to New Zealand and spent Christmas and New Year’s so we could ring in the old 2000 up there first, before everybody else did. It was a lot of fun.” The members of Lonestar are also taking a much-needed break after racking up frequent flier miles this year touring Europe. Keyboardist Dean Sams, who welcomed his second child on Dec. 17, says 3-year-old Britney is first on his Christmas list. “My daughter has this great list of stuff, and I don’t know where I’m going to find it,” Sams says. “I’m sure it’s out there, because if she knows about it, she’s seen it on TV or something. So that means it’s at a store somewhere.” CMA Horizon Award winner Brad Paisley will go home to West Virginia for a short vacation before being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry cast Feb. 17 at the Ryman Auditorium. “I can certainly take a few days off at this time of year to see folks I haven’t seen in a while,” he says. “I’ve got a small family, so I should be able to see everybody at the holidays.”