Garth Brooks To Release Gunslinger, His 10th Studio Album, On November 25th
I want to start this off by stating that I have been a fan of Garth Brooks for the majority of my life. In fact, the first CD that was ever purchased for me along with my personal CD player, was The Hits. (I also received a “Best Of” Ray Stevens CD, but that’s a whole other story.) Nearly 23 years later, I open up the Target exclusive 10 CD The Ultimate Experience box set (review) and head directly to the liner notes.
In this booklet, Brooks describes his newest album, Gunslinger as “the most Garth thing I have ever done.” As you can imagine, especially after Man Against Machine from last year, I was excited to get that old Garth feeling once again. While I will never truly complain about new Garth music of any kind, this immediately jumped my expectations to an even higher level. That level is probably something that could only be realized in the case that extra tracks were rediscovered from the In Pieces era. Gunslinger doesn’t exactly meet that criteria.
Though with my high expectations of a new Garth album, I listened with an open mind from top to bottom of the album and while I can’t say that I feel it met my own “Garth standards,” I can say that I don’t feel like he let me down. Not necessarily everything “fits,” in my opinion, but by no means is this a bad collection of songs. There are three that I’d like to go a bit more in depth on:
- Honky-Tonk Somewhere: The first track on Gunslinger is exactly what I want out of a Garth Brooks album. If every song resembled something like this, it would be an easy shoe-in for album of the year. Unfortunately there is nothing else quite like this classic honky-tonkin’ sound throughout the rest of the record, but this one is damn fun.
- Baby Let’s Lay Down And Dance: This has been released to radio as the first single from Gunslinger. While it doesn’t quite fit in with modern country radio, this was probably the best choice. It has already reached #19 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart and I hope to see it climb even higher. Garth’s previous radio singles, “People Loving People” and “Mom” didn’t do incredible well on mainstream country radio, but I have a feeling that this will help Brooks mount a stronger radio comeback.
- Whiskey To Wine: From “The Dance” to “The Night Will Only Know” and “More Than A Memory,” Garth has recorded some of the strongest and most heartbreaking country love songs of modern times. May of all time. Track #7 from Gunslinger, a duet with wife Trisha Yearwood, fits undoubtably into that category. If this isn’t the next radio song, those folks making the decisions are making a huge mistake. This is easily the best song on the album.
Do I recommend you pick up Gunslinger? Absolutely. Should your expectations be set to an all time Garth high? No. In most cases, I say that any Garth is better than no Garth (Okay, we’ll talk about Chris Gaines soon) and this album sits quite bit higher on the Brooks totem pole than “no Garth.” I would love to see that classic sound continue to comeback even more that it has here, with the next project, whenever that may be. With his recent CMA “Entertainer Of The Yea” win, hopefully that will push the radio folk to play more of his hits outside of “Friends In Low Places.” Fingers crossed.
Gunslinger releases on CD and Digital via Amazon (Currently only $8.99!!!) on Friday, November 25th. Help to support BORN Country by purchasing through our Amazon link below. Garth is currently wrapping up his World Tour with Trisha Yearwood in 2017.