Garth Brooks: “Our Job Is To Fly The Flag of Country Music”
“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 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.”
July 10, 2014 @ 11:51 am
I wasn’t a huge Garth fan back in the day, but he did have some good songs, especially on his first three or four albums.
Looking forward to hearing some of his new stuff.
July 24, 2014 @ 11:00 am
I feel the same way. Back during his heyday, he was a constant presence on the radio but he was neither annoying or a standout to my ears (aside from the fact that so many of his songs were on the dial constantly). However, given his comeback I was suddenly struck with the urge to go back and give his older material a listen. Sure, with Garth’s no digital, no streaming, no YouTube policy that meant I actually had to buy the albums, but they were essentially pennies on the dollar (making one wonder why he cares so much if it’s all about the money). Regardless, No Fences is definitely better than I remember it. I was never a huge fan of “The Thunder Rolls” and “Friends in Low Places” was played to death, but my ears have found a new appreciation for both. The former in particular gives me chills every time I listen to the opening crack of the storm and the following acoustic guitar line.
July 10, 2014 @ 11:55 am
Safe to say I’m fairly damn excited for this one. I LOVED the country disc in the covers set he released and I’m all for more of that. I hope the fact that he’s working with outside writers doesn’t hurt him like it did Ronnie Dunn, but I have hope. Maybe, just maybe Garth Brooks is the one to bring country music out of it’s slump. After George Strait retired, he seems to be one of the last mega stars left that actually did something that resembles country.
July 10, 2014 @ 12:36 pm
I thought his version of “Amos Moses” was pretty cringe-worthy myself. Otherwise I haven’t personally heard the rest of that album but might check it out after reading your comment. Also, George Strait retired from touring not music in its entirety. He’s openly stated that he will continue to make albums.
July 10, 2014 @ 12:00 pm
Damn it I love Garth Brooks. Absolutely cannot wait for new music.
July 10, 2014 @ 12:06 pm
During his prime I thought Garth was crappy pop-country. My how times change. Those look like halcyon days compared to today….
July 10, 2014 @ 12:06 pm
“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.”
Translation: “If I don’t release my stuff digitally the other acts will kick my ass in record sales. But I still don’t like it. The kids aren’t buying my stuff because it is not on the internets. Damn Internets.”
July 10, 2014 @ 1:44 pm
I’m not sure if that is what he means or if he is saying “there is no way I’m taking the same digital deal everyone else is taking, I am going to make this more profitable for me and the songwriters.” If he’s not getting the profit that he feels like he deserves, then I’m not sure he will do it.
July 10, 2014 @ 4:31 pm
I took this statement to mean that he recognizes that artists and songwriters are getting a raw deal by digital distribution channels and he refuses to participate unless it is fair and equitable for everyone. You could take this as greed, or you could take this as looking out for himself and his songwriters, and setting a standard of how content creators should be treated by digital music distributors.
July 14, 2014 @ 1:57 pm
Heaven forbid record execs should take a pay cut so they can pay the artists and writers better wages.
July 10, 2014 @ 12:09 pm
I’m starting to feel like it’s a good time to be a country fan again. Some positive changes have already started, but if anyone can kick country into high gear again it’s Garth. I can’t wait. Now give me new Alan Jackson and Trisha Yearwood albums and I’m all set.
“The world has changed, we know that. But all we can be is ourselves.”
July 10, 2014 @ 12:09 pm
I like how he addressed the irony- “If you remember, I was the guy that wasn”™t the country guy in the 90”²s. 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.”
My guess if this blog was published back then Garth would be the main target LOL.
July 10, 2014 @ 12:20 pm
In terms of Garth Brooks having the best concert out there…it’s actually a big understatement from my end. Probably the biggest highlight of my senior year in High School was traveling all the way from Gulfport, MS to Kansas City, MO at the Sprint Center to see Garth Brooks and during the entire concert they had a video screen in the center of the stadium and would show his face for the convenience of the nosebleed sections. But Garth had this type of aura where I didn’t wanna look at the video screen I wanted to look at him and the stage itself no matter how tiny it looked and throughout the show I was doing nothing but standing up from my chair and singing along every song.
Biggest highlight that evening for us was him performing Shameless…and he screwed the song up but that was nothing compared to him having a bra hitting his face and hanging from his headset mic during that song.
All in all if we could go back to that night in Kansas City again we would…only difference is I’m now in a position to easily see him in either Gulfport/Biloxi, MS or New Orleans, LA for when he ever comes over
July 10, 2014 @ 12:38 pm
Make sure you take some bras with you and you might just be able to recreate your first experience 😛
July 11, 2014 @ 12:48 pm
Garth put on the best concert I have ever attended. I saw him on the first night of his 8 or 9 concert stop in MPLS and I remember walking out of that concert thinking “how the hell can he run around like that and keep that kind of energy for hours?” It was a fantastic concert and I am super excited for his upcoming tour. My only regret was not trying to get tickets to another one of the shows.
I also believe that he has enough pull in the country music world that he will have the ability to produce some real country music, and if it sells well,maybe it will start others on that path. We’ll just have to see when the album comes out.
This is the first time I’ve seen this site, and I like what I see. Good work Trigger.
July 10, 2014 @ 12:31 pm
This is exciting stuff. I’ll be curious to see how “Garth music” does in 2014. I imagine he’ll get lots of radio time and dominate the charts. One thing to watch is if other artists try to start imitating him because you know how Nashville loves to chase trends. Garth is going to make trucks full of money with his comeback. I’m hoping one thing that comes out of his new album is showing an appreciation for the roots of country music. If Garth makes music that is similar to his early stuff, I’ll be thrilled.
July 10, 2014 @ 12:32 pm
Garth Brooks can go back from whence he came, the depths of crap country hell. Located at the corner of Who gives a fuck and piss off.
July 11, 2014 @ 8:52 am
Yep, it sounds like he wants to be a rock star. I hope he fails miserably.
July 14, 2014 @ 8:23 pm
Hater gon hate
December 29, 2014 @ 3:30 pm
What a jack ass …. must be some punk rock star failed wanna be musician
July 10, 2014 @ 12:43 pm
I appreciate the sentiment Garth, but I’m more interested in this flag:
July 10, 2014 @ 12:44 pm
I was honestly expecting something a little bigger with this press conference but I’m not sure what. The tour and album were obvious and I personally thought he would announce something pertaining to digital distribution of his music. However, no release dates, no songs, no otherwise concrete details. This is it? We all knew you were coming out of retirement, Garth, but way to hype up what was otherwise a fairly pedestrian set of announcements. On the other hand, I’m not a huge fan of Garth’s so this might have floored his fans. On the subject of digital, I always wondered why he didn’t just offer the music on his site. The fact that people will have to go there to get it instead of using a universal outlet like iTunes will inevitably hurt the momentum a bit but it will be available at least.
On another note, I think he needs to look up the meaning of the word “stupid.” I myself am not adverse to slang but his constant misuse of the word makes it hard not to make fun of his statements (which will surely happen elsewhere).
July 10, 2014 @ 2:07 pm
You seem like you’d be fun at parties
July 10, 2014 @ 2:26 pm
Yeah, I don’t usually bring the beer but I always have some facts handy 😛
July 10, 2014 @ 4:35 pm
I agree the lack of details was a little deflating. However I think the press conference was necessary, especially with all the Ireland stuff, and we still received quite a bit of information.
July 11, 2014 @ 10:00 am
I agree with that sentiment and thanks for the reply. The comment from SV was making me think I was being a prude or something (and maybe I am, but at least it’s not just me that feels this way).
Toby in AK
July 10, 2014 @ 2:37 pm
Garth lost me at some point along the way, but even after he went off the rails he still had some good songs. Even when I was ticked off at him though, I had to admit he was one hell of an entertainer and truthfully I’ve always wanted to see his live show for that reason. Maybe I will someday.
July 10, 2014 @ 2:50 pm
I’m both excited and skeptical about this.
If Garth’s new music is even a little bit relevant and gets a lot of traction this will be a game changer. I have high hopes considering he is using the same band. And, the fact that he said he’s trying to write but still used mostly other writers’ material is a good sign. At least he won’t be pushing too hard on the creative side with an end product that he doesn’t whole-heartedly believe in.
This could signal a swing in the pendulum. I know Waylon compared him to pantyhose, but he seems to have heart and he obviously loves performing, and loving what you do makes you much more passionate about it. With just a couple of quality songs this could “save” (or make a positive change in) the current state of popular country and western music as we know it.
I for one am holding my breath.
July 10, 2014 @ 4:37 pm
There have been numerous stories written over the last few years about how many amazing songs are sitting out there just waiting for someone to cut them, but none of them are getting cut because Bro-Country is what is selling. Someone like Garth would get the pick of the litter of this material.
July 10, 2014 @ 4:34 pm
Can’t judge anything yet ’till we know who’s writing these songs. For all we know he’s even tapped into Sturgill or Jason. Soon enough…
July 24, 2014 @ 12:34 pm
Snowball’s chance, I know, but how awesome would it be if Garth’s new album featured Sturgill or Isbell or someone else that’s made waves on the independent scene? It would definitely be their ticket to the big time.
July 10, 2014 @ 4:49 pm
I have ~30,000 songs on my Itunes library, which is probably around 45% rock, 10% blues and 45% country, but not one Garth Brooks song or CD.
I plan to pick up a used best hits of Garth and give it a spin.
Perhaps I have been missing something I would like.
It’s certainly happened before.
July 14, 2014 @ 4:44 am
Wow! That’s like $30,000 worth of music!! I wish I was rich like you!!!
July 24, 2014 @ 12:59 pm
He’s probably been collecting music for a while. My parents have an extensive collection of vinyl and nowadays you can convert those albums into MP3s. And let’s not forget, CDs have been around since the early ”80s.
July 10, 2014 @ 4:57 pm
Garth’s statements make me very optimistic about his comeback, especially since he is currently one of the few (maybe the only one) that can allow for other traditional country singers that are out their and can hopefully finally break through, and bring a more truthful and authentic version of country music.
Let’s just hope that Garth can get big like in the past.
July 11, 2014 @ 10:37 am
Guaranteed Garth sells out every stadium show he puts on a calendar, at least the first go ’round. What happens after that depends on how he delivers. He comes back at the very, very top, rivaled only by Taylor Swift (who you can argue is no longer country anymore by her own estimation), especially since George Strait is retired.
July 11, 2014 @ 12:03 pm
Garth Brooks will sell out shows as long as he wants to tour. Especially since he won’t ever be a guy charging 200$ a ticket.
July 10, 2014 @ 6:34 pm
In other news from today, Ashley Monroe didn’t really beat around the bush about her cancellation. Here’s hoping she gets better.
July 11, 2014 @ 6:54 am
Yeah I was disappointed to hear about it, I had tickets for the Dewey Beach date this Monday. But a kidney infection is no joke! Here’s to hoping she gets a speedy recovery.
July 10, 2014 @ 7:27 pm
He’s so sappy and corny that I just don’t find him likable. The Ireland thing is irritating – he should have fixed that problem quietly, behind the scenes.
July 11, 2014 @ 5:31 am
“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.”™
If I came out of a concert saying to myself “It was just stupid” I think I’d want my money back. Maybe he was just using “stupid” as a bass-ackwards slang for good? (Like “That was Bad, man!”)
I have always believed Garth has a great talent, but he was the key player in the downfall of traditional country music, although he started out as traditional. There were lots more like him in the 90’s that swung their music towards Pop, but I think he was the main trendsetter that everyone else followed because of his phenomenal success at it.
I will take a wait-and-see attitude towards all this…This could end up being another Chris Gaines fiasco or it could be something helpful to real country music. Time will tell…
July 11, 2014 @ 5:56 am
Bob, I interpreted the “That was just stupid” line to mean, “That was an amazing, entertaining show”. I’m assuming that’s what he meant.
This announcement is pretty important in the whole scheme of things, and Garth has quietly, but pretty decisively, thrown down the gauntlet regarding his return to music, in my opinion. He’s still trying not to insult any other trends, like bro-country or hick-hop, but from what I can see, is obviously aware of them, and is ready to go head to head with them in the marketplace. He sees an opportunity here, and is seizing it in terms of how he is re-entering the market. He is also reassuring fans, in a pretty obvious way, that he’s not going to jump on the bandwagon with the above mentioned trends.
I’m enjoying how much clout Garth has wielded currently, and his return has to be worrying bro-country and hick-hop acts just a bit.
It’s also ironic that with his return, Garth is looking to inherit and take over a sort of elder statesman role in country music, especially given all the flack he got over the years for “not being country”.
Garth re-entering the market may be good for many large ACTUAL country acts, as well as many small ones as well.
July 11, 2014 @ 7:20 am
I hope that you are right, my friend!
July 11, 2014 @ 9:08 am
Garth has always been so full of Garth I find its almost unbearable at times . You can’t be all things to all people…yet Garth has tried to be that since day 1. Playing ‘simple’ country music in a stadium while smashing guitars , harnessed up and flying over the crowd and ” thumping ” away at ear splitting volumes is ” Look At Me ” in all its glory and an attempt to be NUMBER 1 at all costs .Ummm…Katy Perry , Miley Cyrus , TS anyone ? His humbler -than- thou attitude got old for me in a hurry way back when he began referring to himself as “G” and hung the logo from his stage like Superman . Ok Garth …we get it . YOU are the king …the biggest , the baddest , the humblest , the one with the most integrity , the best shows , the biggest flag-waver in the biz . You can do it with a band …you can do it solo …you can do it on another continent . Give me Alan Jackson , Josh Turner , Merle , Miranda or Kasey ANY day of the week . I just wanna hear good music …I don’t need all the hoopla and drama and spectacle Garth seems to think needs to go along with it . The legendary Don Williams quietly let the farm and recorded a couple of the best albums to come along in the past two years and didn’t have to hire David Copperfield to amaze us into believing he was God’s gift to the genre. He picks great songs , he sings ’em and goes back to the farm . Gotta love it ….no ? Isn’t DON WILLIAMS the guy who should be wearing the “S” on his chest ?
C’mon Garth ….anone who needs all the attention you are seeking probably needs more than the attention.
July 11, 2014 @ 10:56 am
Agreed 100%, well said.
July 18, 2014 @ 7:33 am
You can have opinions, but kind of helps to form them with a little fact basis.
Garth has always been so full of Garth I find its almost unbearable at times . You can”™t be all things to all people”¦yet Garth has tried to be that since day 1. Playing ”˜simple”™ country music in a stadium while smashing guitars , harnessed up and flying over the crowd and ” thumping ” away at ear splitting volumes is ” Look At Me ” in all its glory and an attempt to be NUMBER 1 at all costs. Ummm”¦Katy Perry , Miley Cyrus , TS anyone ?
– Actually his stage show is patterned after Chris Ledoux… as country as they come. Look him up.
His humbler -than- thou attitude got old for me in a hurry way back when he began referring to himself as “G” and hung the logo from his stage like Superman.
– I’ve never heard Garth call himself “G”. And the flags flanking the stage…you mean like logos any other artist from a garage band to Garth puts up to market your name?
Ok Garth ”¦we get it . YOU are the king ”¦the biggest , the baddest , the humblest , the one with the most integrity , the best shows , the biggest flag-waver in the biz . You can do it with a band ”¦you can do it solo ”¦you can do it on another continent . Give me Alan Jackson , Josh Turner , Merle , Miranda or Kasey ANY day of the week . I just wanna hear good music ”¦I don”™t need all the hoopla and drama and spectacle Garth seems to think needs to go along with it .
– I don’t think Garth has ever said he is the best, I think he strives to be the best he can be. And everyone you reference, Garth has great respect for.
Put in a Garth CD at home, you don’t have to attend his concerts. You telling me he doesn’t have some damn good country songs?
The legendary Don Williams quietly let the farm and recorded a couple of the best albums to come along in the past two years and didn”™t have to hire David Copperfield to amaze us into believing he was God”™s gift to the genre. He picks great songs , he sings ”˜em and goes back to the farm . Gotta love it ”¦.no ? Isn”™t DON WILLIAMS the guy who should be wearing the “S” on his chest ?
– Garth respects Don Williams a great deal, but I think you can understand they are two different type of artists. But based on their action, both true to themselves and both very genuine.
C”™mon Garth ”¦.anone who needs all the attention you are seeking probably needs more than the attention.
– The guy is as big as Elvis or The Beatles…like it or not. So for him to try and do anything quietly is pretty difficult.
Garth has all the money he needs. He doesn’t need to do this. Does he crave the attention…maybe, but if that selfish craving means better traditional country music and he can shift the landscape from shit bro country to more authentic music, please Garth…be selfish.
July 24, 2014 @ 1:06 pm
Ummm”¦Katy Perry , Miley Cyrus , TS anyone?
I don’t think he’s announced his intention to twerk on stage or bring a blow up penis to any shows, but anything is possible I guess.
July 11, 2014 @ 3:29 pm
Per Albert “yet Garth has tried to be that since day 1. Playing ”˜simple”™ country music in a stadium while smashing guitars , harnessed up and flying over the crowd”… you do know the two referenced acts were only for television specials, right? Garth has a natural exuberance that can be a bit much for some folks, but I don’t fault him for trying to top himself. Does he have an ego? Of course, else he wouldn’t be a performer.
July 13, 2014 @ 1:22 pm
I will say that I really liked Garth early on in his career, his first album I thought was his best out of all of them, really liked Alabama Clay, Not Counting You & Cowboy Bill. The first album was a good country album, but as years went by the more I just wished he would go away, and I do believe when Garth retired back in 2000, it wasn’t because of wanting to be with his kids, Garth knew he didn’t have what he did early on and if he continued, he would be labeled a has been.
July 18, 2014 @ 7:35 am
Wow, for him to reference bro-country and hick hop is pretty big deal, I think.
He is basically putting that in the cross hairs and saying “the shit on the radio right now is down right disrespectful to true country music and its history. Sure maybe I fucked it up a bit with my style, so I’m going to do my best to reel this garbage in.”
I’m looking forward to his return. No, he doesn’t replace the pleasure I get from a Sturgill Simpson, Whitey Morgan or Jamey Johnson, but he is going to change the landscape and it may directly benefit Sturgill, Whitey and Jamey types.