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Garth Brooks: A Few Minutes in Nashville

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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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Comments (4)

  1. Hello – I would just like to thank you all for the beautiful work you put into preserving our heritage and historical events and people. It is greatly appreciated.

    Sharon Chafin

  2. As careful reader Ethan Kent pointed out, the original posting of this article incorrectly spelled George Strait’s last name. (Curse you, autocorrect, and curse me for missing it on the proofread.)


  3. I love Garth Brooks! He is a man of character, has deep respect and love for his wife and children. I was so happy that he was named the Gershwin nominee. He certainly deserved it and put on quite a show!

  4. Thanks to Mr. Tucker for his kind response (both in reply here and in contacting me directly) to my Comment (which was taken down due to a link to another URL concerning George Strait) concerning the autocorrect error which caused George Strait’s last name to have an additional 2 letters in it in the version of Mr. Tucker’s piece that I originally saw.

    Thanks also to him for encouraging me to watch the Garth Brooks Gershwin Prize concert television program: although I was a listener to country music on the radio in the 1980s and appreciated Brooks’s tributes to (the ones I noticed in the part of the program I saw) Merle Haggard and Mr. Strait, I was surprised and moved by the way that Mr. Brooks — when singing and playing songs created outside of the country music tradition by 1960 and 1970s songwriters and singers such as Otis Redding, Jim Croce, Don McLean, Cat Stevens, and Bob Seger — showed in his singing that he had paid close and respectful attention to both the vocal styles of the original singers and to the emotional underpinnings of songs I admired myself when I (about Mr. Brooks’s age) was much younger.

    I look forward to the day when Mr. Tucker and his readers will again be able to travel again both freely and safely (as he did when visiting Mr. Brooks and his wife Trisha Yearwood in Nashville last fall.

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