Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 7:30 pm
There was a long stretch in country music when there was no bigger star than Garth Brooks. He ruled the country charts throughout the '90s, filled stadiums, played 250 to 300 shows a year. In 2001, he called it off. He retired from the road and the studio, and went back home to Oklahoma to be a dad to his three young daughters.
Garth Brooks last released an album of original material thirteen years ago. This week, with "Man Against Machine," the dormant king of pop country returns to a different world. Nobody but Taylor Swift seems to sell records anymore, in any genre. (Brooks has sold more than a hundred and thirty million in twenty-five years).
Garth Brooks is finally embracing digital music, but he's doing it his own way.
Brooks, one of the last holdout big-name musicians still refusing to put his music on iTunes, said Thursday he will make his back catalog of hits and his new music available for download, but only through his own website. He said the digital downloads of previous music would be available in a few weeks to tide fans over until a new album comes out later this year.
Garth Brooks fans abound in Ireland, and now 400,000 of them won't get to the chance to see him perform. Brooks has cancelled five concerts after the Dublin City Council refused to grant him more than three. Melissa Block speaks to Rachel Flaherty of The Irish Times about the controversy.