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Garth Brooks Starts His Comeback

There is more of a split between old and new country music than between generations in other genres. The core of rock, for instance, hasn’t changed all that much. Styles change, but it seems that the evolution of country music over the past couple of decades is particularly extreme. Today’s country songs deal with more than horses and loneliness, though those topics certainly are tackled. The performers use more outside influences are more worldly than their predecessors.

Garth Brooks — actually, Troyal Garth Brooks — represents this generation. He is a superstar who temporarily walked away (mostly). The news is that he is back. NewsOK has a long and interesting story about his comeback. The bottom line is that Brooks comes out seeming like quite a nice guy: He retired to raise his kids and now that his youngest has graduated high school he is working on an album. It will be his first of new music, according to the story, since “Scarecrow” in 1991. The story says that a tour is in the works.

The story says that the Brooks was named in 2000 as the top selling solo artist in U.S. history. It’s unclear if he still holds that title but it seems likely that would have been eclipsed by Michael Jackson.

USA Today adds some details about the comeback, which seems geared at making up for lost time:

He’ll kick off a three-year world tour soon, with the first date to be announced Monday. More details will follow within 10 days. “I’m very proud of the ticket price,” says the 52-year-old singer, who retired in 2001 and drew more than 5 million people to his last tour (1996-98).

Wikipedia has an unusually long listing on Brooks. The first point is that one reason for his popularity is the infusion of rock elements both into his songs and performances. That makes sense, and Brooks is not alone in doing that. The profile goes on to say that as of May of last year he had sold aout 68.6 million records. The story details appearances and releases since his retirement. Clearly, it was not total and the recent announcement isn’t a surprise.

Above is “The River” and below is “Friends in Low Places.”

(Homepage photo: Steve Juvetson)

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Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.