Garth Brooks Open to Performing With Jones

Garth Brooks leaves open the possibility that he and George Jones could perform together on The 35th Annual CMA Awards, set for Nov. 7 on CBS.

“I’m not talking to the CMAs [in Nashville],” Brooks told Monday (Oct. 29). “Our discussions are with [senior vice president for specials] Jack Sussman with CBS in L.A.”

In The Tennessean on Oct. 24, Evelyn Shriver, chief of Jones’ label, Bandit Records, said Jones was “hurt” because Brooks had not responded to his invitation to join him for a performance on the CMA show. “Beer Run,” a duet, appears on Jones’ recently released album, The Rock: Stone Cold Country 2001, and on Brooks’ upcoming release, Scarecrow, due Nov. 13.

“If George has a problem with me, he’ll call me,” Brooks said. “He’s been great at that. He’s been great at being very forward.”

Speaking later in the day to radio representatives, Brooks underlined his stance. “He called me up about two weeks ago and asked about the CMAs,” Brooks said. “I told him I was talking to Jack Sussman. I would call him back. I plan to do that as soon as Sussman lets me know, and as of 5 o’clock this afternoon, I was under the [impression] that there was a place for Jones on the CMA, and now we’ll see if Jones, that’s something that he wants. But it will be his call.”

A CMA spokeswoman said Tuesday that a Brooks-Jones duet has not been slated for the awards show. “We’d love to have Garth and George on the show,” said Wendy Pearl, “but nothing’s confirmed at this point.”

Brooks joked that he’s not necessarily looking forward to the prospect of matching vocals with Jones. “If I don’t do the CMAs with Jones, it saves me getting murdered on national TV by George Jones,” he said. “He’ll sing circles around me.”