Garth Brooks is back and about to be bigger than ever. The country superstar has just announced he’s coming out of retirement to launch a huge world tour and a new album, courtesy of a record deal with Sony Music Entertainment.
Brooks, who has sold 70 million albums in the U.S. since 1989, put his career on hold back in 2001 to raise his three daughters. Though he put on sporadic live shows since, this marks his first large scale tour since 1998. “I want to thank God and everyone who is giving me a chance to actually look at a second half of a career,” Brooks said during a live stream news conference. “I don’t know many artists who get this chance.”
Brooks will be releasing his new double album in November, sometime around Black Friday, with a new single debuting sometime within the next two months. The record will consist of songs written by Brooks and a creative team, mostly based out of Nashville.
The official dates for his world tour will be announced on July 14, and if his past tours are any indication, it will be a smashing success. During his three-year outing centered around the 1998 album “Sevens,” Brooks broke several country touring records, grossing more than $105 million and drawing close to 5.5 million people. At the time, Brooks only charged $20 per ticket, even though any other artist of the caliber would’ve likely demanded much higher. The musician will probably employ a similar strategy this time out. According to Billboard, Brooks is looking to play to as many people as possible by charging only about $80 a ticket, although many concert prices these days often go upwards of a hundred dollars per ticket.
Prior to this tour announcement, Brooks was scheduled to perform five shows at Croke Park in Dublin. He ended up canceling all five shows (and causing all kinds of controversy) earlier this week after the city council said that he would only be able to perform three shows at the space. “The people of Ireland are the most loving people on the planet,” Brooks said of his decision. “However, the system needs to look at itself … Don’t sell a show to people and get their hopes up and then cancel it. It just isn’t fair.”
Further proof that Brooks is navigating his comeback entirely on his own terms? He also recently announced that his music is finally going digital, but not on iTunes or other digital stores as expected. Apparently, Brooks wanted iTunes to sell his music as a whole album only, but the company policy requires the option if individual track sales. So instead, his songs will be availably digitally in the next few weeks, on his soon-to-be revamped website, garthbooks.com. It’s unclear whether the music will be offered as downloads or streaming, but Brooks assured his entire body of work will be available “at a stupid price.” His new music will also be available at all retail stores, not just with Walmart, which exclusively carried his catalog from 2005 to 2007.
Regardless of whether they choose to buy his new music from his website or in stores, it’s clear that the release — and the ensuing tour — can’t some soon enough for his fans, who have been anxiously awaiting Brooks’ return to the limelight.