OFFSTAGE: Garth Brooks Would Still Play Honky-Tonks

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Garth Brooks was formally inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame last night (Oct. 21). But last week, he told the Wall Street Journal that he’d “still play honky-tonks today” if he could, adding, “’Cause that’s the place; no arena or stadium show has ever equaled a honky-tonk.”

Later in his career, when he was playing those arenas and stadiums, he said he was always trying to make the room as small as he could. So even with all he’s accomplished in his distinguished career, it sounds like he’s still just a guy who wants to play country music. And even one who isn’t quite sure he was ready for the honor of the induction.

“It’s weird. You wait your whole life for this kind of a call. And the second you get it, all you think about is ’It’s not time yet. There’s so many people that should be in here before my name is called,'” he told the newspaper.

Another sign that he belongs in such elite company? The passion of his fans. “If there’s going to be a fight breaking out at the Thanksgiving table about what was the best concert anybody ever went to, you want your name mentioned,” Brooks said. “That’s what you want, and that’s the most important thing to me–how passionate people are about who’ll they believe and follow.”

I’ve only seen Brooks in concert twice. Once in Kansas and once in Las Vegas. But I have no doubt I’d win any Thanksgiving table fight about why his concerts are the best. If anybody’s feelings were hurt, I might bury the hatchet. But I’d leave the handle sticking out.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.