Mike Sudhalter | October 18, 2007
I remember attending the first of two Garth Brooks concerts in 1997. I've been a GB fan since I started listening to country music a year earlier, but in recent years, I've grown tired of his marketing schemes.
First, there was the attempted crossover in the Chris Gaines flop, the retirement following a sub-par selling "Scarecrow" album (would have he retired on the heels of a multi-platinum album?) and the exclusive Wal-Mart contract.
There was one positive development - the low prices of Brooks' products at Wal-Mart, such as a six DVD set and a Lost Sessions CD with several new songs on it. "Good Ride Cowboy" was a great tribute to Chris LeDoux.
Now, Brooks is taking a temporary step out of retirement, doing a few concert dates in Kansas City, Missouri. Would it be that difficult to do a brief national tour a la George Strait. I don't know if I'd travel to see Brooks to the KCMO show unless I was across the river in Kansas City, Kansas. But the good news is that his ninth and final KC show on Nov. 14 will be broadcast live at about 300 movies theaters nationwide, including a few locally - check out Fathom Events.
I will go to the local movie theater to check out Brooks' show, but I'm more looking forward to seeing Eric Church next week in either San Jose or Sacramento. Church is similar to what Brooks was 17/18 years ago - an energetic, young act.
Instead of pushing his own career during "retirement", I wish Brooks would work behind the scenes to promote the careers of Lee Brice and Jerrod Niemann. Sure, both youngsters have made some nice money by co-writing songs with Brooks, but both of their albums have no set release date. Brooks should have the money and/or influence to make sure Brice and Niemann get the same chance he did 18 years ago.
Is it a coincidence that Brooks' Ultimate Hits CD/DVD package will be released on Nov. 6, a day before the CMA Awards? Maybe he's trying to take attention away from today's deserving acts.
For those who can't get enough of Brooks, check out Great American Country, which will have Brooks coverage througout the month. An interview with Lorianne Crook will air on Nov. 3, and an hour special will play on Nov. 18.