Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Garth Drops Cowboy Hat in Marketing Makeover

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Garth Drops Cowboy Hat in Marketing Makeover

Article excerpt

Just when it looked as if Garth Brooks would lay down his bat for the San Diego Padres and pick up his Stetson again, he has another new gimmick.

This time, the superstar credited with bringing "event marketing" to country music is trying "a concept album."

And if history is any indication, he'll score big again. The first sign of what's to come is the mysterious album cover making its way around the Internet. It's Garth all right, but he's hidden behind the makeup, hairpieces, bangs, lighting and touch-up wizardry of Hollywood stylists. Think of it as an actor getting into character, says Scott Stem at Capital Records in Nashville. Then think of Garth "acting" on a CD. That's what a concept album is all about. Garth, the singer, has been talking about Garth, the actor, since 1997 at least. He has said he wants to do a movie. This album is the soundtrack to an upcoming movie called The Lamb. It's about a rock star named Chris Gaines, and although the script isn't finished and producers haven't decided whether Garth will play Gaines, Garth will at least "sing" for Gaines. Garth? Singing rock? That's part of the new gig, too. His love of rock `n' roll has been well-documented. He speaks often of his love of Kiss and Styx, among others, and how the former's massive stage productions inspired his own stage shows. In fact, Brooks recorded his own version of Kiss' Hard Luck Woman on a Kiss tribute CD several years ago. A major fan of Billy Joel, he also recorded the piano man's Shameless. But the upcoming album, In the Life of Chris Gaines, is a complete departure for Brooks. The concept here is that the 14 songs are Gaines' "greatest hits," and are drawn from Gaines' catalog of CDs, none of which actually exists, of course. The CD comes out in September. The first single, Lost in You, will be sent to radio stations in August. "The idea is to make you a fan of Chris Gaines before you go see the movie," says David Waldman, an assistant to Brooks' publicist. Waldman says some of the songs have "an `80s John Mellencamp/Bruce Springsteen" feel. At least one is reminiscent of Eric Clapton's smash hit If I Could Change the World. …

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