In 1975 Strait was honourably discharged from the army. However, it would still be a while before he hit it big in the music industry. He subsequently gained a degree in agriculture from Texas State University, and while studying, he formed a music group there called the Ace in the Hole Band. But, although the band were good, Strait still had to work on his family’s ranch to make ends meet.
Strait did go in search of a record deal for the Ace in the Hole Band, but he constantly came up empty-handed. Luckily, he had his own ace in the hole – bar manager Erv Woolsey, who had once worked for MCA Records. And just as Strait was on the verge of putting his guitar away for good, MCA offered him a contract.
In 1981 – the same year in which his son Bubba was born – Strait released “Unwound,” his debut single for MCA. It was an instant success, too, making it to number six on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The singer soon followed that up with Strait Country, his debut album, and by the following year he was a rising star.