October 26th, 2000 – a land mark in the history of American music, the day that cross-over country legend Garth Brooks announced that he would be going into retirement to see his three daughters through their graduation.
Garth remained still within reach on the music scene after this declaration, releasing hidden gems on the down-low such as ‘Scarecrow’ back in 2001, and ‘The Lost Sessions’ in 2005, performing in name of charitable events from the May 2010 Nashville flood benefit to the California Wildfires Fund, – The hat may have came off, but the cowboy was still riding high.
With regards to album sales, the battle for the top has always been a three-horse race, with The King,The Fab Four and The Rock’n’Roll Cowboy all minutes behind each-other. Back in 2007, Garth Brooks was handed over the crown, surpassing Elvis Presley after audited sales of 123 million were announced. In 2012, Brooks then officially passed The Beatles in album sales, achieving almost 5 million more sales than those good ole boys from Liverpool. Since then, The Beatles and The King have risen to the challenge, despite both acts ending in the 20th century, and have once again snatched 1st and 2nd place.
However, The Honky-Tonk Rocker is back with ferocity and turbulence boys and girls and he’s bought with him not one unheard album of insanity and passion to feast our senses into… but five! And Garth has already made his way to first place on the American Country Music Charts.
Blame It All On My Roots with its name taken from 1990 hit-single ‘Friends In Low Places‘, Garth’s latest mixed studio/compilation album instils some of the classic country-rock hits that Brook’s fans all know and love with an abundance of Garth’s earlier influences and musical loves.
The first album, ‘The Ultimate Hits‘, is a re-issue of Garth’s 2007 compilation album. For those who wanted to once again take hold of that new traditional country sound and lose themselves in the thundering motion of ‘Ain’t Goin’ Down Till The Sun Comes Up‘, Drown their melodic impulses in ‘The Beaches Of Cheyenne‘ or spend another night, howlin’ at the moon and ‘Callin’ Baton Rouge‘.
The number already won the recognition it deserved upon its release, exciting fans who has missed their American savoir to frantic measures. On January 18, 2008, the RIAA certified ‘The Ultimate Hits’ Gold, Platinum & 5× Multi-platinum.
The next four albums, ‘Country Classics‘, ‘Classic Rock‘, ‘The Melting Pot’ and ‘Blue-Eyed Soul‘, all encapsulate completely new material recorded by Brooks. Covering artists from Rod Stewart to Don Williams, Buck Owens to Otis Redding, Free to Simon & Garfunkel, the collection collectively branches its way from old-school southern soul to hard-hitting rock and roll, while driving its way through the sounds folk-rock Woodstock and passing by some traditional Tennessee and Texan ballads.
Garth was always a lover of Classic Rock, often proclaiming his love for bands like Kiss and The Eagles, explaining that it was the hard-hitting artists who knew how to work a crowd such as James Brown and Bruce Springsteen who had a big influence on him. Garth was taken to his first concert by his ‘high-school sweetheart’ as a teenager, the two went to see Queen and it was after watching Freddie Mercury’s ground-breaking performance that Brooks decided he knew what he wanted to do. Although it was sometime after when Garth heard hit country-star George Strait
”I knew what I wanted to do and it was after I saw George Strait I knew how I wanted to do it”
So it’s no surprise that the world would be graced with a Chris Gaines-style rock ballad record with a sprinkle of country-twang from the revolutionary rocker. As part of the ‘Classic Rock’ record, Garth sets out his own rendition of eleven classic tracks, including covers of Lynyrd Skynrd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, Bob Seger’s ‘Against The Wind’, The Allman Brothers ‘Midnight Rider’ and Free’s ‘All Right now’.
The Album after this, ‘The Melting Pot’, also stays true to an electric sound as Garth takes a turn at covering some folk-rock/Soft-Rock hits. Garth expresses that he loves lyricists and takes a lot of inspiration from his favorite song writers. This album captures that as Brooks revamps numbers such as Simon & Garfunkels ‘Mrs. Robinson’, Jackson Brownes ‘Doctor My Eyes’ and The Bands ‘The Weight’.
Soul has always been one of the most prominent genres in music history, often celebrated even more than the blues or rock’n’roll, there has always been an intriguing passion and sensuality behind soul music which provides a root source of influence for artist in many other different fields. No matter which direction an artist seems to marvel into, they always come back to a more organic soul sound. This past decade we’ve seen artist’s such as Rod Stewart and Phil Collins bring out retrospective collection albums of all of their much-loved soul favorites, but now, it’s Garths turn to take the reins in the form of ‘Blue Eyed Soul‘. In this definitive assemblage, Brook’s takes on Otis Redding’s ‘Dock Of The Bay’, Ray Charles‘ ‘What I’d Say’ and Dobie Grays ‘Drift Away’.
And what would a Garth Brooks collection be with-out some good old ‘Country Classics‘. It was of course, that southern-style drawl and ‘Hell-In-A-Stetson’ fire and glory that stole the nation’s heart and soul when Garth first holstered his way up the charts. In this part of the compilation, Garth digs down real deep and hits home with some pure country holy grails. Garth puts his own style on classic tracks including Buck Owens ‘Act Naturally’, George Jones’ ‘White Lightning’, Hank Williams‘ ‘Jambalaya’ and Jerry Lee Lewis’ ‘Great Balls Of Fire’ – An incredible eleven piece journey through the history of American music. ”