Garth Brooks: “Our Job Is To Fly The Flag of Country Music”

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“There’s two terms that’s going around right now. One’s called Bro-Country. You familiar with these? Are you familiar with hick-hop? Um, I don’t think my stuff’s either one of those.” –Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks held a much-anticipated press conference on Thursday (7-10) to announce an upcoming world tour, new music on the way, and that for the first time his music will be released digitally. Though no specifics were given in regards to world tour dates, or a name or release date for the new album, Garth did allude that we may see the first new single in the next month or two, and that he could release his new album in conjunction with the Black Friday shopping holiday in November.

It was announced at the press conference that Garth Brooks had signed to Sony Music Entertainment as a record label, and that RCA Nashville would be handling the retail side of the new Garth partnership. Garth has famously refused to succumb to the digital download era, which is now quickly giving way to the digital streaming era, but he announced today he is planning to make his music available digitally, but only through garthbrooks.com, at least to start. “That will begin within the next two to three weeks,” Garth said. “When [digital] is used right, it can do wonders for the artists. And even better, it can do wonders for the songwriters. When you do it right, we’ll all succeed.”

On the digital subject, Garth later talked about the potential of a package deal and discounts for people wanting to buy his music digitally. “What’s coming right now, I’m going to tell you people are going to mistake for giving it away, but I’m not. There’s going to be a window coming for this digital era, for anyone who’s waited for Garth Brooks to go digital to get it all at a stupid price … the people who have waited should be rewarded.”

garth-brooks-press-conference-2Garth Brooks fielded many questions and covered many subjects in the 40-minute presentation, including the issue of his five comeback concerts in Ireland which still remain in limbo. Garth gave a lengthy speech about how he felt blindsided by the decision to cancel two of the concerts, but that he was still hoping to find a resolution. Two reporters from Ireland were on site to ask Garth questions directly about the issue. But as Garth said, the matter was a dark cloud over what was supposed to be a happy day officially announcing the end of his retirement.

“Scared? Yeah. Old? Yes,” Garth said as he opened his portion of the press conference before delving into more specific matters. “So new music is coming, we can’t tell you when because truthfully we don’t know.”

We may not know when, but Garth did delve deep into the nuts and bolts of what people can expect.

“It’s a double album, because we have a lot to say … Allen Reynolds has retired,” Garth said of the producer of all of his previous albums. “Mark Miller, the guy that has been the engineer on all eight studio records has stepped up to producer.” As for who will play on the album, “Same players,” Garth says. “The world has changed, we know that. But all we can be is ourselves.”

As for the songs, Garth says though he’s trying to write, he relying mostly on the material of others.

“I’m getting my ass kicked by the level of songwriting right now … Most of the stuff we’ve been cutting has been outside songs … I do want to say thank you to the Nashville songwriting community, as well as LA and New York. They have been priceless. They have kind of taken this on as their own mission, this album. And I just hope for all of them that I don’t let them down. Because they have spent 24 hours a day for the last three months making sure I got to hear everything possible that they had to offer.”

Garth talked about some specific songs as well.

“The first single that’s gonna come out … might be one of the greatest statements ever. This album also holds a song on it that, I shouldn’t say this, I shouldn’t say this, dangit, that might very well have not taken the place of “The Dance” for me, as my favorite Garth Brooks song ever. I didn’t write it. Pisses me off I didn’t write it. But what a beautiful song.”

As for the style of what people can expect, Garth let it be known he wouldn’t be chasing any trends.

“There’s two terms that’s going around right now. One’s called Bro-Country. You familiar with these? Are you familiar with hick-hop? Um, I don’t think my stuff’s either one of those,” Garth said as clapping emerged in the press conference gallery. “For me it’s Garth music. If you remember, I was the guy that wasn’t the country guy in the 90’s. So it kind of feels weird to be the guy now that’s going, ‘Wow, that’s old country there,’ you know. So it’s kind of odd.”

“Our job is to whether you agree with bro-country, hick-hop, whatever, our job is to fly the flag for country music,” Garth continued. “I want these people walking out of these arenas going, ‘Best show I’ve ever seen. That thumped harder than any rap show I’ve been to. It was louder, it was more chaotic, it was just stupid.’ That’s what I want to hear. All the good things, right? So that’s what our job is. Our job is to fly the flag of country music, and people walking out and going, ‘I’ll put that show up against any other genre of music.’ It’s always been that way, and always will for us.”

As for keeping up with the current trends, and living up to past greats, Garth said,

“I’m ready to compete with them. Because competition between us only make the product better, which makes the consumer more happy. And under that flag of country music. It all keeps going in circles.”