A video of the press conference that took place in 2000 when he initially announced his retirement was shown, along with some of the highlights and accomplishments of his life since that time. Garth has never entirely left the music industry, but has been focusing on raising his three daughters and enjoying a much slower pace than when he was playing multi-night shows to large crowds while on tour. It has been no secret his desire to return to the stage burned inside him, but he has stuck to his promise to his daughters and to himself to hold back until his youngest was in college, all three girls were grown and needed less of his time and attention. It was with a knowing heart of his responsibilities that his decision to return to the stage was made.
Dressed in Wrangler jeans, jacket and his black Stetson, Brooks comfortably sat in front of everyone as he casually looked around, smiled and commented that he recognized many of the same faces who were present during the previous press conference when he put “the self inflicted retirement roof over his head” and warmly said that it only made sense to have the same people in attendance as he made his announcements today. The twinkle in his eyes was shining brightly and the smile on his face revealed the excitement as he spoke the words “It is a happy day for my family today, as I am taking that retirement roof off of my head, and I have to tell you, I already feel taller.” The decision to return to performing was with a happy but hesitant heart, as age and time changes people and changes the industry as well.
He made it very clear, that even though he was coming out of retirement to pursue the things he wanted to do, that the touring and making of albums was at least another five years away. His youngest is now 13, and he still has several years of responsibilities at home. He stated that he never wanted the children, especially his youngest, to feel like his hands were on her back pushing her out of the house so he could get back into the music again. In his own words he stated that “the music takes a long time to plan and to do it right”, so he is making plans and going slow by starting with the announcements of today. He also expressed his love of the Grand Ole Opry and said he wants to play more if they will have him.
Garth was very honest and forthcoming about the future, his enthusiasm of the possibilities that await are what you would expect from him. He was not specific, but open to ideas and basically said this is simply opening a door for him to be able to do what he loves and not have to explain it. He misses the faces and the stories that come from the people he meets more than the spotlight itself. His admission that the shows in Kansas City turned his head around, opened his eyes and in his own words he was “stunned by the initial ticket sales, stunned by all the new younger faces, but even more stunned by all the familiar faces who came. It was the best of all worlds.”
In addressing the question about encouraging artist today to take back what is theirs during his acceptance speech for his Leadership Music Award in September of this year he first reiterated “during the next five years” to reinforce that he is not planning on putting out a new album or touring. He spoke of digital downloading and joining forces within the music industry to give credit where credit was due. He spoke of “unionizing” so to speak; having the artists and the industry come together to represent as a whole force to reinforce the ownership of music. He offered a challenge of no music for one day, offering as an example there would be no music on television, on the commercials or anywhere. He quoted Jimmy Bowen saying “no one realizes the power of music”. Brooks stand on the importance of this by stating "If the world goes silent for a day, we will realize how powerful we are."
As much as Garth would like to be remembered for being a great father, husband and other day to day accolades, he admits his performance during the Leadership Music Awards sparked his desire even further to make the leap out of retirement. His face lit up as he spoke lovingly of his touring band, but the admiration and recognition of the session players who were on stage that night with him made his smile shine even brighter. He mimicked the sounds of licks that are recognizable by the first few notes to his biggest hits and said being on stage with the individuals who came up with these sounds brought the biggest smile to his face and warmed his heart.
Garth admits his children are the best gift he has been given, but he misses the music and looks forward to stepping out slowly, step by step to enjoy giving back the gift of music as well.
Photos of todays press conference can be seen by visiting http://www.flickr.com/photos/momentsbymoser/sets/72157622466780213/