Garth Brooks Live Tweets His Way Through Gershwin Prize

"Music Does Not Exist Without the Songwriters," He Says

This year it was Garth Brooks’ year.

He won the coveted Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from the Library of Congress on Sunday night (March 29). The award, according to the official definition, “celebrates the work of an artist whose career reflects lifetime achievement in promoting song as a vehicle of musical expression and cultural understanding.”

“An award is only as good as the names on it,” Brooks told the Library of Congress. “First off, for any musician, the name Gershwin says it all. Add to Ira’s and George’s names the names of the past recipients, and you have an award of the highest honor.

“I am truly humbled.”

Brooks received the honor during Sunday night’s all-star tribute concert in Washington, D.C. And even if you couldn’t watch the show, his tweets throughout the night told the story so well.

As artists from country and a few other genres took the stage to sing Brooks’ praises in song, he tweeted endlessly about the honor of being honored in such a way.

The two-hour show, hosted by Jay Leno, featured performances from Brooks, as well as his wife Trisha Yearwood (“For the Last Time,” “The Change”), Keith Urban (“Ain’t Gong Down ’Til the Sun Comes Up,” “We Shall Be Free”), Chris Stapleton (“Rodeo,” “Shameless”), Ricky Skaggs (“Callin’ Baton Rouge”), “Keb’ Mo’ (“The River”), Lee Brice (“More Than a Memory”), and the Howard Gospel Choir.

When it was Brooks’ turn to take the stage alone — saying “music does not exist without the songwriters” — he performed a flawless and moving medley of songs from Don McLean, Jim Croce, Merle Haggard, Bob Dylan, Otis Redding, Bill Withers, Bob Seger and a few of his own timeless hits.

At the close of the show, Brooks put his guitar down and said that at his age, 58, people sometimes ask him what he wants to be remembered for. He said that first and foremost, he is a child of God, an American citizen, a son, a husband, and a father.

“But if you’re talking about music,” he said, “people, please remember Garth Brooks as a songwriter.”

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