Let me start by saying that I am not a country music fan. I am a music fan though.
Currently, there are three people at the top of the musical mountain — three musicians stand above all others. The first two are expected: Elvis Presly and The Beatles. The third is a person who very few would probably expect: Garth Brooks.
Some music “aficionados” would disagree but Garth Brooks belongs there for many reasons. Brooks is the best-selling solo artist of all time and that has to count. And no, that is not a typo.
Yes, The Beatles are ahead of him in sales but they are a band (not to discredited them individually or as a while).
Brooks is the best selling SOLO artist and this gives him the sales to be in the greatest of all time conversation. But where people often discredit him or try to take away credit is in talent.
There are many who refer to him as just an “entertainer.” Now don’t get me wrong, Brooks is an entertainer and he is one of the best ever to entertain fans.
Brooks knows how to play to a crowd. I have seen this first-hand but there are those who see country music as “less” talented.
To this I would agree to a point. However there also comes a time where credit is due.
Garth Brooks made good music.
This is all the credit he needs to be proven a talented and great artist. Along with being a great entertainer.
I would stack the list of good to great Garth Brooks songs against any of the greats. There are almost too many to count. There is “Shameless,” “Thunder Rolls,” and “Friends in Low Places” to name a few.
Also, who could forget one of the greatest songs ever recorded, “The Dance.”
My tastes lean towards “We Shall Be Free” and “In Another’s Eyes.” My personal favorite, though, is “The Change.”
Brooks and his music instill in me — as I am sure it did many — humanity. Brooks was surely ahead of his time.
Garth Brooks was progressive — which is not meant politically.
The “We Shall Be Free” lyrics — “When this world’s big enough for all different views, when we all can worship from our own kind of pew, then we shall be free” — say all you need to know.
The Beatles and Brooks sang about a lot of the same things. The Beatles always felt more grounded to me but Brooks felt more head in the clouds. As an eternal optimist, this always felt more at home to me. Especially as a child.
My musical tastes have changed for the better since I was a child but the messages behind my music rarely have and that is thanks to Garth Brooks.
Again, Brooks was progressive and ahead of his time. But even more than that, Brooks was a good man.
This can be seen on Netflix with the documentary, “Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On.” The documentary tells his life story, from his early days playing gigs at college bars in Oklahoma to his first unsuccessful trip to Nashville and eventually his record-breaking world tours.
The best parts, though, are the parts about Brooks himself where he is balancing family life with global fame.
The documentary touches on his entire career and focuses on one major question: Why did he sing certain songs?
The controversy over “We Shall Be Free” is as poignant today as it was then and heartbreaking to watch how people reacted to it in the 90s and how Brooks felt about those reactions is why I loved him and his music then and why I still do.
Documentaries can be funny though. I think everyone wants something a little different out of documentaries.
Some prefer more music and some prefer more life.
I like a good mix but with the human side of the person on full display when its about the music and when it is about the person.
“Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On” gives a good mix of both, although at times the reality of who Brooks is may feel fake to some.
There are always those who say good people can possibly be good all the time and when they are some see that as “fake.”
One thing Brooks is and has never been is fake.
Garth is Garth and “Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On” shows that. This is seen most when the documentary talks about his retirement and why he did that. Brooks tells a story about after his mom died and his marriage to first wife Sandy ended when he was with his daughters and one daughter, Taylor, pronounced the word “both” in a way that only his daughters’ nanny did.
Brooks explains that that is when he realized someone else was raising my children.
That realization for Brooks was a wake-up call, so he decided to retire from music until his daughters were grown.
The next part is the best part of the documentary and explains Brooks the man.
Apparently after he retired Brooks and his first wife (after the split) set up a schedule of raising their children that mattered to both parents.
So, every day for the next 14 years, Brooks and Sandy would take turns with the children at their respective houses.
This is fairly normal I would assume.
However, Brooks wanted his kids to feel loved and like they still had two parents. Brooks and Sandy would do the opposite at night to whatever was done in the am. This means that if his daughters woke up at Sandy’s house then Brooks would be there to make breakfast when they woke. Dinnertime that same day would then be at his house where Sandy would come over to eat/cook dinner and put the kids to bed. Then the routine while the same would switch house the very next day and then Sandy would come for breakfast and Brooks would go to Sandy’s for dinner and to put the kids to bed.
These are the types of humanizing stories of Brooks you will get from “Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On.”
The best parts of this documentary are when Brooks is talking and philosophising.
All of it lets you get to know the man and that he is the real deal.
The documentary is two long episodes and by the end I wished there was more.
“Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On” shows the man and what his music was meant to be and what he wanted it to be.
This documentary shows just how hopeful a person Garth Brooks is.
“As long long as one heart still holds on, Then hope is never really gone”
Those are lyrics sung by Garth Brooks in the song “The Change.”
It was said again with these lyrics from “We shall be Free.”
“I see the way this world shall be, when we all walk hand in hand. When the last child cries for a crust of bread, when the last man dies for just words that he said, ‘when there’s shelter over the poorest head, we shall be free.’”
Garth Brooks wanted to take music and bring hope to people and to the world and that is what he did.
I know, I was one of them.
The documentary “Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On” helped me remember that.
Jason Guyer is an avid moviegoer and works in the graphics department at the Eagle Times. For questions or comments he can be emailed at email@example.com.