Garth Brooks is delivering a newly-recorded single to country radio on Aug. 27 as part of the initial media push to promote the Nov. 6 release of his new CD/DVD package, he confirmed Saturday (Aug. 18) during a press conference at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Nashville.
The Ultimate Hits will feature two CDs containing four new recordings and 30 of the most popular songs from his 18-year recording career, along with a DVD of 33 music videos. Brooks said the package is likely to be discounted for a retail price of $11-14.
The new single, “More Than a Memory,” was co-written by Lee Brice, Kyle Jacobs and Billy Montana. Brooks co-wrote another new song, “Midnight Sun,” with Jerrod Niemann and Richie Brown, co-writers of Brooks’ 2005 single, “Good Ride Cowboy.” Brooks and Huey Lewis are featured on a duet remake of one of Lewis’ rock hits from the ’80s, “Workin’ for a Livin’.” Brooks says “Leave the Light On,” written by Randy Goodrum and Tommy Sims, is designated as a bonus track.
Brooks has enlisted Big Machine Records to promote his new music at radio. Big Machine’s artist roster includes Taylor Swift, Jack Ingram and Brooks’ wife, Trisha Yearwood. The CD/DVD package will carry the imprint of Pearl Records, the label he owns, and will be distributed through another Nashville-based company. Brooks’ longtime associate, Joe Mansfield, will serve as head of sales for the project.
The release of The Ultimate Hits marks the end of Brooks’ exclusive deal with Wal-Mart which made the retailer and its Sam’s Club stores the only place his music could be purchased. Although Brooks will be selling his CDs through all retail outlets, he’s still refusing to make it available for digital downloads. Noting that he has always approached his albums as cohesive works, he says he will not authorize digital downloads if the songs are sold as individual tracks.
Through the years, Brooks’ has compiled his music in various greatest hits and boxed set packages, but he said he has no qualms about once again including the previously-released tracks on The Ultimate Hits.
“All I can think of is my love for James Taylor,” he said. “Do I have every one of James Taylor’s records? Yes. Do I have the Greatest Hits album that’s just the white cover. Yeah. … Do I have his latest greatest hits [CD] that has those same things on it? Yeah, I do. And, for me, the reason why James is worth it is because his music is the soundtrack of my life.”
Brooks said the low price point for The Ultimate Hits is another reason he’s decided against downloads.
“If you want to go online — if you want to pay 99 cents [per track] for all of them — at 33 bucks, the math’s pretty easy. So I feel really good about this.”
Although he will be actively promoting the project through TV, radio and print, he insists he is not planning a concert tour or even a major concert event. However, Brooks, who has often joked about his weight, was thin and appeared to be in excellent physical shape at the press conference. He said he’s merely trying to remain competitive.
“I don’t know if you have your eyes open … but Keith Urban is a beautiful guy,” Brooks said. “He can play the hell out of a guitar, he can sing his butt off, and he’s a great entertainer. Well, that’s just one of about 50 out there that you’re gonna go face-to-face with this fall. And if you’re not gonna bring your A-game, you’re gonna get run over. So I’m gonna do my best, at 45, to try to represent myself the best I can.”