"I am not being bitter," Garth Brooks says, in an exclusive interview with Billboard, of feeling he doesn't quite fit in where country music is heading. "I'm taking my place as an older artist that ha

"I am not being bitter," Garth Brooks says, in an exclusive interview with Billboard, of feeling he doesn't quite fit in where country music is heading. "I'm taking my place as an older artist that has to know that the dance has a beginning and the dance has an end, and I'm very proud of the mark that I have been fortunate enough to make. I will now go to whatever God has planned for me next."

To hear Brooks tell it, "Scarecrow" -- due Nov. 13 via Capitol Nashville -- will be the last studio album of his red-hot career. In the 12 years since his debut self-titled album, the artist has done nothing short of revolutionize the country music industry, selling more than 100 million albums in the process. But, the top-selling albums artist in U.S. history, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, Brooks, 39, declared he was retiring last October to spend more time with his three daughters, Taylor, 9, August, 7, and Allie, 5. He definitively stated that he would no longer tour, but vowed to try to deliver "one more album" to his label.

And he has done that with "Scarecrow" -- named after the Ray Bolger character in "The Wizard of Oz" who led with his heart. The set displays Brooks' wide musical range, from the honky-tonkin' "Big Money" to the jangly bluegrass of "Don't Cross the River," the Beatles-esque "Wrapped Up in You," and the sweeping, orchestrated grandeur of "When You Come Back to Me Again."

But with his musical career coming to a close, Brooks sees himself shifting into screenplay writing. "It's creating like songwriting is," he says. "But it's creating on a [level] that's [so much easier] on my schedule with my girls."

But no matter what is next for Brooks -- who just executive-produced, "Call Me Claus," a made for-TV movie staring Whoopi Goldberg -- he has set high goals for himself. "[Whatever] the next career is that I go to, I would love for someone to go, 'Hey, you know he played music before this, right?' That's the goal. Whether it's matched or not, please don't condemn me for letting that be the goal.

An excerpt of the Billboard Q&A with Garth Brooks will be posted later today on Billboard.com.

To purchase a copy of the Nov. 3 issue of Billboard in which the Garth Brooks interview appears, click here.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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