We sat down with Garth Brooks for an interview at his Nashville studio last fall, just after he was announced as this year’s Gershwin Prize honoree. The studio is in a pleasant neighborhood near Music Row. It features the obligatory studios, sound booths and a control room, along with a full-sized kitchen, living room area and offices for both Brooks and Trisha Yearwood. It’s very nice but not pretentious, which also pretty much described our hosts for the day.
The pair arrived a couple of hours before the filming started, without fanfare and without a publicist or entourage. They were casually dressed, carrying their on-camera attire in clear-plastic covers, as if fresh from the dry cleaners. Other than a makeup artist and a staff worker or two, they had no else at the studio. For musical artists working at this level, it was a remarkably drama-free day. While Yearwood was in makeup, Brooks sat at a table with our film crew, tapping on a laptop, sipping coffee and amiably passing the time.
His deep roots are in country and western (it really used to be called that, kids) and he demonstrates that in this clip. In one sequence, he walked us through his musical influences, giving a cappela impressions of Merle Haggard, George Strait and Hank Williams Sr. and how they influenced his singing style. He used “Two of a Kind” as an example. It was something to see.
In this brief video, we also place how his music fits into the Library’s collections of American music that stretches back to the foundation of the country. And don’t forget to check out the Gershwin concert Sunday at 9 p.m. on your favorite PBS station.
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