by Trailer - Originally posted on Country California, March 26, 2013
Garth Brooks is nearly broke.
The somber, emaciated (for him) 51-year-old across the table from our correspondent stood in stark contrast to the color-block shirted, barrel-chested wild man of Nashville memory as he confessed that "girls are expensive."
Despite 200 million in album sales, years of sold out concert tours and an estimated $350 million in career earnings, the country legend is surviving on Spam and saltine crackers these days as he plots his comeback. "I know, I know... I've seen all those VH1 specials about guys like MC Hammer and thought, how the hell did they go through all that money?" admitted Brooks, pulling at a loose thread on his 2008 Old Navy America t-shirt.
Brooks put his career on hiatus in 2001 to see his daughters through high school and into college. The costs of his divorce that year and the upbringing of three girls was a far greater financial strain than any of his fans might have imagined. "Well, Sandy got half and the girls got the other half," chuckled Garth, sipping Big K Cola from a can. "I didn't know Bratz cost so damn much."
"I've also burned through most of Trisha's money with some bad investments," he continued, with a tear the size of a quarter building in his left eye. "The pager store franchise went under in '02... damn cell phones. And my personal brand of offensively bright shirts for big and tall men never got off the ground due to a sweat-shop scandal."
His three-year Vegas run only put a band-aid on the problem as bills and tuition costs slowly ate away at Brooks' remaining fortune. "I've lost 60 pounds, man; all my old 'Mo' Bettas look like circus tents on me now. I'm going in for a third mortgage on the mansion."
A potential comeback is in the cards, though the 26-year Nashville vet is not currently aligned with a record label. "Borchetta is interested in a comeback album, but he's not sure I'll fit the Big Machine mold. Hell, I guess I'd do auto-tune and sing about trucks... I need some money, pardner!" said Brooks.
The "Friends in Low Places" superstar bid us adieu for his afternoon Starbucks shift with these off-topic words: "Everybody blames me for pop-country, but I'm Hank Sr. compared to folks these days..."
At press time, Scott Borchetta had passed on Garth Brooks for a 19-year-old community college dropout with a five o'clock shadow and an intriguing chin scar.
A Collaboration/Guest Submission by Jackson Burnett & Trailer
Some would imagine that the country music industry during the mainstream’s last agreeable era, the 1990s, wasn’t as likely to contain divas and D-bags as it does today. However, that isn’t the case. Here are the 10 biggest offenders…
10. Joe Diffie
Plans to reissue his entire catalog on 4-track cartridges.
Personal Facebook page appears hacked, but it’s actually him posting all those links to bootleg Ray-Bans.
9. Suzy Bogguss
Covers “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” at the start of every show after 2006.
Drinks right from the 40 oz bottle of Olde English 800 and puts it back in the fridge.
8. Wade Hayes
Slashed Joe Diffie’s bus tires on a recent 90s country tour.
Sprinkles when he tinkles and isn’t neat enough to wipe the seat.
7. Patty Loveless
Final single was a dubstep remix of “Cleopatra, Queen of Denial.”
Hated touring Canada because “Canucks suck.”
6. Pam Tillis
Once said nice things about Locash… no, wait, that really happened.
Hides her master tapes under a dirty laundry pile that’s been sitting in her guest bathroom since 2005.
5. Ty Herndon
Leaves the sink running everywhere he goes.
Refuses to replace his official Angelfire website.
Sings exclusively in an “Ernie from Sesame Street” voice in concert.
4. Marty Raybon (Shenandoah, Raybon Brothers)
Spread a rumor that Diamond Rio were the country Milli Vanilli.
Just pours his tobacco spit cup out right by the door of the tour bus.
Stops in roundabouts.
3. Terri Clark
Once put Pam Tillis in a triangle choke submission for sneezing in her presence.
When on tour, has a tradition of taking selfies of her peeing on national landmarks.
Calls her dogs “puppers” and doggos.”
2. Trisha Yearwood
Once told an audience to “go f*** yourselves” for not singing along to her cover of “Bump & Grind."
Responds to fan mail by sending nude Garth pics.
Against legalization, but always on that kush.
1. Jim Lauderdale
Abuses Domino’s carryout insurance policy.
Ghost-wrote 88% of all bro-country songs.
Constantly on Tik Tok during meals with his bandmates.
Brandy Clark's 12 Stories is the cure for the common country song. Sorry, that was a terrible opening line, but I'm gonna leave it in here because it might make this review stick in your head for better or worse.
While her vocal style may recall a bit of Trisha Yearwood or Rosanne Cash and her writing may bring to mind Miranda Lambert or Kacey Musgraves (both of whom she has written with/for), Brandy is an artist unto her own.
She's kept all the best songs for herself …and good for her! The debut single, "Stripes" is a witty kiss-off that mixes infidelity, fashion and revenge into what would almost be a novelty song with a less lived-in vocal. In a world where females make up less than 15% of the country chart, "Stripes" would be a welcome (and welcomed(!), if only the mass of country radio's audience had a chance to hear it) entry into the testosterone-apalooza.
"What'll Keep Me Out of Heaven" might be the best pure country song of 2013. It's an old-school cheating song with modern sensibilities. Clark goes through a near real-time analysis of the desires and implications inherent in a potential hotel room hook-up, and it is captivating.
"Take a Little Pill" is my favorite cut on 12 Stories. It'll never ever ever ever get anywhere near country radio because it's far too close to real life. Here, Brandy explores pharmaceutical healing in an age where the fine line between necessity and easy-out are crossed with little regard for the consequences.
12 Stories is the rare album where every song is as catchy as it is intelligent. Its over-arching theme seems to be similar to that of bro-country - escape; however, Brandy explicitly tells you what harsh realities are being numbed away or ignored, and what the repercussions may be in the end. It's a stunning debut that begs more than critical praise - it deserves a big stage from which to remind a wide audience about the beauty and ugliness of real life.
12 Stories is available for purchase today, everywhere.