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Can Brooks keep us jumping?

Jeffrey Remz  |  July 11, 2014

Garth Brooks was just about jumping out of his skin on Thursday to announce that he was back.

Of course, it came as no surprise that he was going to launch a worldwide and release new music.

The tour dates will be announced text week with a gentlemen in Atlanta the first to know where the tour will start thanks to an exchange the two had at a Las Vegas show of Brooks. As for new music, look for a double album around Thanksgiving with new songs to be released within the next two months.

Brooks retained his aw-shucks, down-home attitude and engaged during the 48-minute press conference. He said he wasn't big on talking on and on, yet he tended to that for a while anyway. I can't fault him as he did have things to say.

He interacted with a number of reporters, whether he knew them or not (the first two asking questions were representing Irish publications. Brooks even sought out their thoughts on the current Dublin concert fiasco where as of now his shows are canceled). He seemed at home, among friends.

But that's all extraneous window dressing. What will be most important - and Brooks seemed to understand this - was how well his concerts and music will be received. Let's hope that Brooks sticks to his words and that his music will not contain any hick hop or bro-country type of music as espoused by folks like Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan.

Brooks assured the public that there would be cowboy songs and traditional country music (songs that George Strait wishes he would have sung, Brooks said) on the discs.

Isn't that ironic? Brooks himself has been castigated for years about adding a pop sheen to country with covers of the likes of Billy Joel ("Shameless," a hit for Brooks) or rocking too much. Yet, if you listen to some of his material, of course, it would have little to do with what's being played on country radio today.

Brooks says he's going to do what he considers to be "Garth music," although he fully acknowledged that was a moving target as well, perhaps surprising even himself over the years over what he has released.

Words and labels go only so far. The proof will be in what Brooks ultimately releases music-wise. He said that he has been impressed with the songs pitched to him and has been cutting those at the expense of his own creations. Is Brooks doing his typical thing of being a bit too humble about his own talents? Maybe he's not getting the hick hop and bro country material because he already made it clear he had no interest in recording those styles. One hopes that Brooks will get even more personal with his own songs instead of other songwriters.

Since he has put out little new music save a monstrous four-CD covers set last year, the double CD reflects the need to put out a lot of music that has been pent up for so long. Let's hope Brooks the musician is up to the task, forcing us to jump out of our skin.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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