Garth Brooks Talks Co-Headlining with Trisha Yearwood & Competing Against Younger Stars

Mark Tucker
Garth Brooks

Putting the final touches on his comeback, the country superstar tells Billboard, "I've waited 14 years, and it seems like the last two months are going to be the longest wait of all."

And, just like that, Garth Brooks is back: the country icon announced his return to touring and music-making in a press conference on Thursday (July 10), referring to his new deal with Sony Music Nashville as "part two" of a Country Music Hall of Fame career. Following the press conference, Brooks reflected on how similar the emotions are now to his first run, which began in 1989, in a chat with Billboard.

"It was seven guys in a van. We just enjoyed going out and playing, and truthfully, I'm ready for that again," he tells The 615. "What you do on tour is you build this 'You and me against the world' thing. You go out from city to city like gypsies, and you play, depend on each other, and love one another. All of that is hopefully about to happen again, and that's a great feeling."

How does it feel to be a part of Sony Music Nashville/RCA Records, one of country music's most historic labels? The singer says he is thrilled, though being signed to a legendary imprint is nothing new.


"You can't deny RCA's past and its history," says Brooks. "I was also on Capitol Records, so I have that past history. I feel very lucky to get to fly the flag of RCA Records and Sony Music. Truthfully, all things are based on the music, so how good the stay is is going to be reflected by how the music is accepted. That's my job. That's all I know. I don't think the label makes the artist or the artist makes the label. It's the music that makes everything work or not."

Brooks admits that he is amazed by much of the younger talent in country music now. "I'm glad I'm not going for a deal today, because the kids today my daughter's age are 10 times more talented than I'll ever be," he says. "They know and play everything. I'm watching my daughter at school, and I know my girl. I'm thinking 'She'll probably one of the better ones here.' I've got to tell you, there's probably ten kids that can outplay her on guitar or out-sing her. There's so much talent. I'm happy I got my deal back then."

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However, there's another artist that Brooks will likely draw comparisons to –- the Garth Brooks of the past. "Competing against that is tough," he says, "but also competing against what people remember the show to be –- and the stories get better over time. So, you've got your work cut out for you. But you go out there, and you have fun. Put the music first, and things always seem to work out when you do that."

Throughout his career, Brooks has held true to the fact that you need a little luck to find success, and a killer instinct for identifying those opportunities. "That's what this business is about," he says. "I can still remember the night when I would have given you a dollar to ten donuts that we weren't going to get signed by a label -– and that's when it happened. It totally came out of the blue for me. Ralph Murphy was supposed to play at the Bluebird, and he was sick. They asked if I would go on in his place, but they were there to see him. That's what happened to me. I know it's about luck, but when they hand you the ball, that's when you have to try to do the best that you can."

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Brooks says that he can't wait to share his new music with radio, as well as more details about his tour. There are still some details to be worked out, which the country superstar actually prefers.

"It's a little easier because stuff isn't done yet -- if it was done, I'd be crawling [up] the walls," says Brooks. "That's when you turn it in and people get to hear it. That time is coming. Right now, everything is still in the drawing stage. Things are being built. I've seen the stage, and it's amazing. Those things -- you're just busting at the seams to get to try. Let's stick it on the road, see how it holds up, and see how it works during the show. I've waited 14 years, and it seems like the last two months are going to be the longest wait of all."

And, yes... there will be a co-headliner on the tour, which excites Brooks to no end. "The tour is going to be Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood," he says, "so you get to run the planet with your best friend playing music, while your girls are healthy, thank God, and they're living their life finding their path. It's a pretty cool place to be in right now."


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