Inside Garth Brooks’ Anthology

Garth Brooks has been having hit songs since 1989.  Now, fans can experience the making of those hits in Garth’s new book/CD collection: The Anthology Part 1.  Garth discussed his new project with Country Countdown USA’s Lon Helton.

“It’s Part 1 of a 5-part series. It’ll probably take us 5 years to get the whole thing done.  It’s the complete from A to Z anthology for Garth Brooks.  The story is told from everybody who’s involved. I’m writing my own part. All those songs were recorded by the same guys in the same studio. It was cool to hear their stories, and they interviewed the songwriters too.  So I’m enjoying it, and I know it’s crazy but I’m learning a lot.”

So the people who were there are telling their story? “That’s right.  You’re hearing from the musicians and songwriters. It’s pretty cool, I’m taking the journey with everyone else, and learning what actually did happen from the musician side on songs like Friends In Low Places or The Dance.”

So what have you learned? “There’s a moment in time on Much Too Young, because all of the musicians on my records also played on Kathy Mattea records. So they were playing Much Too Young, and it sounded like a Kathy Mattea record.  It didn’t sound like the honky tonks of Oklahoma.  I didn’t know what to say.  I just started by telling them what it sounded like at home, and that’s how it started.  The great thing about the anthology is we have those first takes, so you’re going to hear what it was like before it became what you know it to be.  Same with That Summer, The Thunder Rolls, you’ll hear the pieces that we’ve never released, and you’ll hear how they progressed to become the songs you know.”

We give an example in the show using the hit “Rodeo.”  Garth told Lon, “I heard Rodeo as a song called Miss Rodeo. It was a woman’s song.  I tried to get Trisha to cut it.  I finally did it because it had great muscle in it.  We found the demo. So you’re gonna hear that version, followed up with the version that you know.”

You also have photos, and this was before cell phones, so are there any surprise photos? “Yes, there’s a show of the first time I’m in a studio in Stillwater Oklahoma.  We recorded three songs that day.”

What’s next in the series? “The first one focuses on the first five years.  The next one is the live anthology, that will take you through the tours, leading up to the comeback tour that we’re on now.  The next one will be The Hits, which will talk about what was going on in the nation that affected the music, and then turn around and how the music affected the nation. So we’re halfway through the second one now.  Then we’ll end it with what we’re going through now, which is the comeback.”

So it’s not just five year segments, there are different themes? “There are a lot of different explanations of how we ended up here. I really enjoy writing, so this was fun to write.  But the other stories are written by Warren Zanes.”

Another example in the set will be the original writer’s demo for The Dance.  Plus, this personal highlight. “It’s gonna be the first time there’s a new girl from Georgia in town named Trisha Yearwood, and she’s gonna sing a Garth Brooks song, ‘I Guess You Had To Be There.’ We were sitting there and it was cool, you know this person is going to be a success, and we have that demo.”

Any other special things? “It’s all special. There’s a picture that somehow surfaced.  I’m laying on the steps of the studio, and there are forty people up the stairs.  I wasn’t sure what it was, but someone took a picture of the forty voices at the end of Friends In Low Places the day it happened. So you get to see the faces of the people you’ve been hearing at the end of that song.”

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