Garth Brooks confirms plans for new music, tour

, Staff

Garth Brooks has officially ended his 13-year hiatus from recording and touring. The legendary country artist, and best-selling artist of the last 20 years, revealed the highly anticipated news at a press conference announcing his signing with Sony Music’c RCA Nashville Records on Thursday. Though details on his new album and world tour tour were limited with the promise of further updates in the next few weeks, Brooks also revealed that his music will be available digitally for the first time ever.

Brooks expects to release his tenth studio album and first since 2001’s Scarecrow later this year, most likely around Black Friday. Fans can expect its lead single to be released within the next two months. The new album will be produced by Mark Miller, who has previously worked as an engineer on each of his Brooks’ previous albums, while his backing band will remain the same.

Crediting the strength of outside songwriters, Brooks also indicated that the new release could be a double album. He praised the quality of songs he has been pitched from the songwriting community in Nashville, and across the country. “I’m getting my ass kicked by these songwriters today,” he said. “We’re cutting everything but Garth stuff it seems…the level of songwriting stunned me.” He added that he is “having a great time writing and playing again, but not sure my writing is up to the level of the town right now.”

The new album will compliment Brooks first world tour in over a decade. After promising a fan during a performance in Las Vegas earlier this year that he would tell him the first city of the tour when it was ready, Brooks said he will call that fan on July 14 to reveal the news. Soon after, he will announce the plans to the public. Though pricing was not revealed, Brooks is expected to honor his longtime stance of single pricing at a rate he is “very proud of”. He’ll be joined on the road by his wife and fellow country star Trisha Yearwood and said the stage will be “phenomenal”.

“The sheer possibility that there might be people waiting when we come back is very humbling, very flattering,” he said. “For those who show up, I hope we give you a show that makes you forget the ones in the 90’s, that is the goal.”

Along with the new music and tour plans, Brooks also announced that he will end his stance against digital music sales and will soon now offer his entire catalogue online. The digital downloads will be available exclusively through his official website. Further details will be released next week, though Brooks teased the initial window of sales will give fans the opportunity to “get it all at a stupid price”.

Despite all the announcements, Brooks acknowledged that there was a “dark cloud” over him due to the cancellation of his five sold-out “comeback” shows in Dublin, Ireland. Brooks had been scheduled to perform five consecutive nights at the 80,000 capacity Croke Park at the end of this month, but the last two concerts were recently denied the final licensing permit by the city after protest by neighbors. Brooks has insisted that to be fair to all his fans, he would play all five of the concerts or none at all. The conflict has rocked the country and dominated all its news formats with concerns about its impact on the local economy. Among the 400,000 attendees, reports indicate that 70,000 were sold to fans overseas. Referencing inspiration from Elvis Presley’s famous comeback special in Hawaii, Brooks selected Ireland for his comeback and had designed a “monstrous” customized stage show to be used solely for the five shows at Croke Park.

Brooks retired from music in 2001 to focus on raising his three daughters in Oklahoma. He called the opportunity to stay at home his “greatest gift” and upon reflecting on his time away from music, said, “I found my purpose. I found my purpose for the rest of my life. And now, the luckiest guy on the planet has three – thank god, healthy – baby girls that are off on their own, chasing their own dreams.”

During his retirement, Brooks did return on occasion with his band for a series of special performances (Kansas City in 2007 for nine shows, Los Angeles in 2008 for five shows and Nashville in 2010 for nine shows). In 2010, Brooks began a limited-engagement three-year residency at the Wynn Encore casino in Las Vegas, where he performed solo acoustic shows.

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