Yes, George Strait was in both movies. However, in the first he played a fictional country singer while in this sequel he played himself in a much smaller role. That is the only tie in. That being said, this movie could have easily had a different title and used a different well-known country singer without changing the plot.
Speaking of plot, this one was saccharine, corny and predictable. My husband sat through it with me and kept saying, "okay, now this will happen next." It was sad to see so much talent -- Michael McKean, Cheech Marin, Bronson Pinchot, even Dean Cain -- put to waste.
Katrina Elam has a great voice and I enjoyed some of the songs. However, unless you want your teeth to fall out from all the sugar or you're looking for something to put you to sleep at 3 am, avoid this movie.