Garth Brooks has probably gone through a lot of pens. In his more than 25 years in country music, he has co-written almost too many songs to list.
However, it’s kind of my job to make these lists, so think about the songs he had a hand in writing: “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old),” “That Summer,” “The Thunder Rolls,” “What She’s Doing Now,” “We Bury the Hatchet,” “Ireland,” “Ain’t Goin’ Down (Til the Sun Comes Up),” “The River,” “The Night I Called the Old Man Out,” “In Another’s Eyes,” “The Red Strokes,” “The Beaches of Cheyenne,” “The Old Stuff” and on and on and on.
So, naturally, the world is waiting for him to put pen to paper for more of the good stuff.
But when I talked to Brooks while he was in Chicago to kick off his comeback tour, he said his new album will feature outside writers because the Nashville songwriting community is better than it’s ever been.
“Truth is, I don’t have too many songs on this album,” Brooks told me. “I don’t trust my pen yet. I’m kind of rusty. I’ve been out of it for a while.”
But he added he would love to be considered the guy who is going to keep country country.
“If you were here in the ’90s, I never thought I’d be the guy they were calling the traditional guy. I was the guy they were calling a rebel, the guy that wasn’t traditional,” he recalled. “And now when they look at you and say, ’You sound like the most traditional stuff,’ it’s because I’m just being me. I’m just guilty of being myself.”
I think one of the last songs Brooks recorded that had his name in the songwriting credits was “Midnight Sun,” which he co-wrote with Jerrod Niemann and Richie Brown for his 2007 The Ultimate Hits album.
Brooks’ upcoming album, due out in late November, will feature his current single “People Loving People.”