Fair memories: Rising star Garth Brooks to perform shows July 20

Fair memories: Rising star Garth Brooks to perform

(This story originally appeared in the July 12, 1990 edition of the Macoupin County Enquirer.)

Dubbed “country music’s next big thing” and “an excellemt bet to reach the rarefied air of true country music stardom,” Garth Brooks appears destined for big things, if he hasn’t already achieved that level. Brooks will bring his show to the Macoupin County Fair Friday, July 20, for two performances.

After touring with Kenny Rogers and playing to 10,000 seat  arenas, Brooks doesn’t seem to be a likely candidate to play the grandstand at the county fairgrounds, but Brooks and his band are traveling the fair circuit this summer.

“Our product came out too late last year for the county fair circuit and the fair is an intricate part of our foundations,” Brooks said. “Around here, the arenas seat either 40 to 50 people, or 10,000 wand we want to get to the people in between.”

While Brooks’ personable style and interplay with the crowd may be better suited for the smaller arenas, he has taken the step up to larger crowds in stride.

“The larger arenas aren’t cold,” Brooks said. “Basically, people are great. They’re not coming out to tear you apart, they just want to have a good time.”

However, Brooks did not that his performance does change sometimes.

Brooks survived the first fall in Nashville, though, and returned for good in 1987.

“I knew Nashville was where I needed to be, but not at that time,” Brooks said.

Perhaps, Brooks survived his first trip and had future successes because it was meant to be. Had Brooks’ dream died, he might have been lost.

“I cannot think of what I would do,” Brooks said. “That’s how much I want to do this.”

Brooks does have a degree in advertising from Oklahoma State University, and is presently working on his master’s degree.

However, Brooks appeared destined to succeed and had country music in his blood. His mother is the former Colleen Carroll, who recorded country music for Capitol Records in the mid-1950s and was a regular on Red Foley’s “Ozark Jubilee.”

Brooks was brought up on couontry music, but leaned toward the style as a means of expressing his message.

“Country music seems to be the place where lyrics are  heard,” Brooks said. “Country music is a way to get the lyrics out.”

He likened his lyrical style to the music of James Taylor and Dan Fogelberg, but noted the absence of that type of music today.

“Music is either pop rock or country and there is no in between,” Brooks said. “Country music is three minutes on a soapbox talking to the nation.”

Brooks tries to spend his three minutes talking to the audience in an open, honest manner, which fits  his strong relationship with the crowd.

“All the ideas (for my songs) come from real life, and  may develop into fantasy,” Brooks said. “My most honest song is ‘If Tomorrow Never Comes.’”

That lyrical honesty leaves audiences feeling like they know Garth Brooks, though they have merely been to a concert. Although Brooks does perform a few non-country songs, he gives his audiences country music and Garth Brooks.

“If somebody wants to not come back (after a concert), that would be fine, because it’s me, and I can’t change me,” Brooks said.

With a debut album that went gold (certified 500,000 copies sold), three number one songs and a number eight song, the future looks bright for Brooks. But Brooks isn’t looking into the crystal ball at this time.

“I’m not much of a future guy,” Brooks said. “If I take care of today, then tomorrow will take care of itself.”