In three weeks time, Garth Brooks will receive the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors in celebration of his incredible, three-plus-decade long career in country music. Regarding his success, to the Washington Post, he credits resurrecting "old-fashioned and sensitive singer-songwriter" sensibilities in songs like "The Thunder Rolls," "Friends In Low Places," and “We Shall Be Free.”
He recalls the New York Times In 1991, deriding him as “[not] truly a country singer,” and more “an old-fashioned and sensitive singer-songwriter.” Regarding how a blend of pop and neotraditionalism would eventually dominate the genre, Brooks says that his once maligned style is "stone country now.”
To wit, current country star Ashley McBryde adds, "I remember some people then that were way older than me, and they were talking about how [Brooks] was just going to ruin country music." In response to this notion she adds, "Are you kidding? To me, that was the golden era of country music."
McBryde's even deeper consideration that it was "hilarious" that country traditionalists found Brooks "too rock," "too pop" or potentially [ruining] country music stun her, as she regards that “he wound up shaping a generation of us in the best way.”
More than his songwriting, Brooks offers that it may be his work ethic as a songwriter that has aided his acclaim, he tells the Washington Post, “People go, ‘That’s not possible’ or ‘That’s too much work.’ I’ve been told that my whole life. And you know what? Once you start doing the work, a lot of impossible things start to be possible.”