Songwriters Laud Garth With Album, Tour

The writers of some of Garth Brooks ’ earliest and biggest hits will take to the road this spring to promote their new album, In the Beginning: A Songwriter’s Tribute to Garth Brooks. Released on VFR
Records and distributed by RED Distribution, the album contains 16 songs Brooks made famous. It went on sale April 10.

Singer-songwriters involved in the project are Pat Alger, Stephanie Davis, Kim Williams, Kent Blazy, Tony Arata, Larry Bastian, Dewayne Blackwell and Victoria Shaw. The songs are “The Thunder Rolls,”
“A New Way to Fly,” “Unanswered Prayers,” “Face to Face,” “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” “Rodeo,” “Mr. Blue,” “The River,” “Cold Shoulder,” “We Shall Be Free,” “Cowboy Bill,” “Papa Loved Mama,”
“Wolves,” “Friends in Low Places,” “The Dance” and “Pains” (a parody of “Friends in Low Places.”)

The group has taped a “Live at the Bluebird” segment which will air on the Turner South cable network in June. Most of the shows being booked will feature only three or four of the participating writers instead of all eight.

“What we’re shooting for is to put them out for two extended weekends a month — like Thursday through Saturday,” says their booker, Andrea Compton. “They’re going to tour pretty much through the end of the year.” Compton says the preferred venues are listening rooms and theaters.

Jim Hester, VFR’s director of new business development, says the album will be available in major record stores and mass retailers throughout the U. S., including Wal-Mart, Kmart and Wherehouse. “We’ll be all over the place,” he promises. “A lot of our [record store] focus will be when these songwriters go into markets. For example, when they go into Louisville, that’s when we’ll really make a push [in local record stores].”

Another avenue for promoting the album will be songwriting workshops. “We want to work with different songwriter associations and groups,” Hester says, “and whenever possible spend a little time in a market and put together a workshop. All of these writers can do it off the tops of their heads.” So far, however, the workshops are still in the planning stage.

No singles will be released from the album, Hester says. But he adds that copies of the album have been sent to all the country radio
stations whose playlists are monitored by the major music trade magazines (Billboard, Radio & Records, etc.) as well as to stations
in secondary markets. “We’ll get some airplay on different tracks,” he speculates, “and we ought to get some morning show [exposure].”

Scott Stem, publicist for the project, says there has been some discussion of building a radio special around the album. On May 21,
Alger, Arata and Blazy will perform on the syndicated and netcast “WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour” in Lexington, Ky. Alger,
Blazy, Davis, Bastian and Blackwell are set to do an hour-long show for the “Songwriter Sessions” series on WPLN-FM, the National
Public Radio affiliate in Nashville. The air date for this event has not been announced.

In addition, these shows have also been scheduled:

Rudyard Kipling, May 22, in Louisville, Ky., with Alger, Arata and Blazy.

Swallow At The Hollow, June 8-9, Roswell, Ga., with Alger, Arata, Blazy and Williams.

The Bluebird Café, Fan Fair Show, June 15, with Alger, Arata, Blazy and Williams.

Compton says she plans to book shows in the Northeast, Colorado and on the West Coast through the end of July.

Show schedules and allied information will be posted on

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to