Sugarland, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban will pay tribute to the King of Country, George Strait, who has been named the Academy of Country Music's artist of the decade.

Faith Hill, Toby Keith and Tim McGraw will also be part of the April 6 taping at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena, the show will air later this spring on CBS.

The artist of the decade has previously been presented as part of the Academy of Country Music Awards. This year marks the first time the award has been broken out into its own special. Previous artist of the decade honorees, who will also be feted in some fashion during Strait's special, are Marty Robbins, Loretta Lynn, Alabama and Garth Brooks.

I interviewed Strait about the honor for M, the in-room magazine for the MGM Mirage hotel chain. He told me this honor stands apart from others he's received: "Well, the fact that it covers a whole decade is pretty special," Strait says. "It validates all of the work you've put into your records, concerts, and all of the other things that go into a music career. Knowing that you're being given this honor out of all of the other artists that are working just as hard, trying to make the very best music you can make for
the fans out there. It's pretty sweet."

There's a reason Strait has been one of country music's leading superstars for more than 25 years and has scored an astonishing 56 No. 1 songs (that's more than any artist on any chart): he has never forgotten his fans. He told M, "I've had an unbelievable career in country music and have been blessed
beyond my wildest expectations and dreams. My fans are the most loyal fans in the world. The best! Period. A lot of them who started coming to see my shows years ago are still coming today and now some of them are even bringing their kids with them. It just doesn't get any better than that. I love singing country music and to just still be a part of it at this level for so long is one big highlight in itself."

Tickets to the taping are available to the public through Ticketmaster and benefit the Academy of Country Music Charitable Fund.

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