Sometimes you live a moment, float through it, and don’t truly react to it until after the fact. I am still in that euphoric state of shock and contentment following my one-on-one interview with the man, the machine, THE Garth Brooks.
It wasn’t the first time I came face-to-face with the man who made me a country music believer and lover back in 1993; however, it was every bit as special as if it was our initial meeting. Proving to be as kind, humble, and personable as I remembered and hoped, Garth allowed me to immediately settle into the process of an interview and simply have a friendly conversation with an icon who is responsible for musically raising me from childhood to adulthood.
Likewise having a hand in shaping today’s younger country fans due to his undeniable timelessness in the industry, Garth promises to cater to an audience of all ages during his World Tour 2016. In fact, he offered me one very important selling point for my teenage brother.
There are going to be some gorgeous women here. Tell him that. Done! Sixteen years old? Are you kidding me? That’s fantastic! And this place, it’s the land of beautiful people, so you can tell him that alone. And tell him to bring his helmet with his cup ’cause it’s gonna get loud!
Garth certainly sold the ticket to my family in that moment by promising a rowdy event, but does the same show night after night ever become cumbersome to the man with the twenty-five year career? The answer was an instant “no”. Garth explained the secret to maintaining a love for life on the stage.
One, always put the right people on the bus. That’s the thing. So, that big guy in the cowboy hat, we’ve been together since ’87. He just moved to Nashville. He’s fun. And you look over at my fiddle player, if you saw us in Orlando, you saw Jimmy. He makes it fun. Just surround yourself with fun guys. I mean, that’s what it’s all about. They understand why we’re all here. We’re all here by the grace of God and the people who come see us. You get that, then you get some really appreciative guys that just come out and have fun and do the right job.
The other part of keeping a long-time career equally as fun for Garth as it is for his fans is having a sincere love for the music in his catalog.
Music is everything. Your music isn’t timeless, you’re not timeless. The great thing about music is if your music is good, they’ll confuse you as being good. Does that make sense? It’s pretty cool.
While the chart-topping phenomenon has an affinity for each of the far greater than good tunes he has chosen over the years to fill his albums and create one of the most decorated country music careers in industry history, there is one particular song that holds a very special place in his heart.
It’s gotta be “The Dance” still. And you talk about “okay, not singles, what would it be?” “The Dance”. I think it is. But every song that rivaled it…”Mom” off this album. I cry like a baby. Sometimes that’s not a good thing. If there’s a song you can’t hear without crying every time *laughs*. The last song on each album’s always my favorite. So things like “Belleau Wood”, “Wolves”, “Cowboy Song”, think of all of that. “When You Come Back to Me Again”; that song just kills me.
What also kills Garth is the talent of the wonderful woman who shares his musical road and is on the journey of life with him: the talented Trisha Yearwood. Garth is not just a loving and devoted husband to Trisha, but is also a self-professed huge fan. Actually, it is quite likely Garth knows Trisha’s catalog as well as he knows his own, sharing that he especially loves songs in her collection like “Swim to the Distant Shore” and “The Woman Before Me”. He also pinpointed one specific favorite that absolutely makes him melt.
“Walkaway Joe”. I remember exactly where I was when I heard it. *Places hands on heart* Did this when I heard it. It hits me every time that way.
At the end of the day, for Garth Brooks, the music is what makes his heart tick. When he speaks of music, he gets a glimmer in his eye like I have never before seen and a childlike excitement on his face that could be compared to that of a new, upcoming artist. Therefore, it came as no surprise that, if given the choice, Garth would choose his music as his legacy.
I want to be a trivia question in twenty years that the people don’t get right, but they know the song. I just want the music to last longer than the artist.
There is no doubt that Garth’s legacy will be exactly what he hoped, but there will be more than just the music that outlasts him as an artist. His showmanship, his spirit, and, most of all, his soul are things that will go hand-in-hand with the unforgettable music he released to the world.
There are not enough heartfelt “thank yous” to express to Garth Brooks and his team for the opportunities and hospitality you blessed me with on the opening night of the Garth Brooks World Tour 2016. As an already sworn forever fan of the man and the music, spending time with someone who has had such an impact on my personal love for the country genre is something I will always cherish.
Featured image photo credit: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images