Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Is It All over Now? Asks Garth Country Star's Next Album Isn't Coming Easy

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Is It All over Now? Asks Garth Country Star's Next Album Isn't Coming Easy

Article excerpt

`WE'RE in trouble, man," an earnest Garth Brooks exhales as he contemplates the making of his new album.

Two songs have been completed for a project with the early working title of "Cornerstone," its name being only one of the devices with which one of the most successful country-music artists ever is putting pressure on himself.

Another is a self-imposed deadline to have it out in time for the Christmas retail season.

"It's going slow - extremely slow," Brooks said in an interview at GB Management, the company he formed when his management team - Bob Doyle and Pam Lewis - broke up and headed to the courtroom.

"I truly think if this album is accepted, we stand a good chance of being around awhile," he said. "If it's not, I think it's over for us."

Garth Brooks, born 32 years ago in Luba, Okla., was the first country artist to sell like a pop star in the early 1990s, foreshadowing the now almost commonplace multi-platinum success of younger artists such as John Michael Montgomery and Shania Twain.

Today, along with Alan Jackson, Vince Gill, Reba McEntire and Clint Black, Brooks is part of the old guard.

A limited-edition greatest hits record, "The Hits," was a major success, but he buried the glass master of the recording under his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in California in a public ceremony last June.

It was Brooks' way of making sure he doesn't rest on his laurels. The original idea was to drop it from the top of the Capitol Records building in California, symbolically shattering the songs that took him to superstardom.

Brooks wants to stay at the top without repeating himself.

"As the years go on and the song list piles up, you can't do another `Shameless,' you can't do another `Friends in Low Places' 'cause you've already done that," he said of a couple of his hits.

The summit was the "No Fences" record in 1990, which sold more than 13 million copies. "The Chase" in 1992 sold about 6 million, and his last album of original material in 1993, "In Pieces," has sold about 7 million. `The Hits" will sell out its limited 10 million run this fall.

Brooks wonders what happened to the five or six million people who bought "No Fences," then dropped out. …

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