Oklahoma's own Garth Brooks has seen it all. From playing tiny, smoky bars to massive stadium tours. But no matter where he's gone, he said his roots will always be firmly planted in the Sooner State.
Fans of Garth Brooks will flock from hundreds of miles away to see the old stuff. But all the songs he considers "old" all started somewhere and so did Garth.
Brooks grew up placing faith and family above all else, values that kept him humble as he skyrocketed to stardom.
“I go home and mom tells me what all the local radio stations are doing and what everything’s going on and dad pulls me aside and makes sure that I know, I know I’m not in the real world, you know, that I ain’t working for a living,” Brooks said.
His love of country music started in the family. His mother was a country singer and even recorded a few songs herself. Brooks' initial start in the genre stalled.
His first shot at moving to Nashville lasted about a day before he came back home. But the spotlight kept calling. A few years later, he was back in Tennessee ready to top the charts.
When we first met the country idol almost 30 years ago, he was filling stadiums of 8,000. Fast forward to 2019, where his most recent tour sold more than 850,000 tickets.
But no matter where he's gone, Oklahoma has always been home.
“I always tell people about Oklahoma,” Brooks said. “It’s just the land of common sense, and a beautiful place to live and a beautiful place to raise your children.”
The youngest of six siblings, that's something the Yukon native can attest to personally. His parents raised Garth and his brothers and sisters at a home on Yukon Avenue in Yukon.
“All my brothers worked at the mill, so that was a big, big thing for us,” Brooks said. “I think those are the memories that I’ll carry with me.”
He still carries those memories with him through the years. Brooks made a name for himself with his unwavering energy on stage even amongst his heroes.
“I remember hearing stuff about him swinging on ropes on stage and throwing stuff around and saying this is country music. Can he do that? And he blew it up! Yes, he can do that," musician George Strait said.
His high-energy performances have pulled country fans and non-fans alike to his shows and filled his shelves with every award you could name.
Even the one award he told us he had his eye on from the beginning.
“There is one award from 1990 I have said I would like to have. That is the Artist of the Decade for Country Music. Like Alabama won in the 80’s,” Brooks told us in 1999.
Artist of the decade: Check. That was back in 1996 when Brooks was well on his way to becoming one of the best-selling performers in history.
It's been more than three decades since he got his big break. Between the nominations and the honors, you might wonder how he stays so humble. Well, raising three strong young ladies will humble you. But no award comes close to the honor of having your name on the side of your hometown water tower.
When you have the star power, you can move heaven and earth for your home state. Brooks teamed up with fellow Okie Toby Keith to raise nearly $2,000,000 following the deadly 2013 Moore tornado.
When he came out of retirement the next year, folks were more than ready to welcome him back. Even in 2020, when shows were out of the question, fans nationwide still flocked to drive-in theatres to see Brooks.
He may not be performing in-person. but he's always ready to put on a show.
Now, in 2021, Brooks is already batting a thousand. The superstar performed at President Joe Biden's inauguration last month.
“This is not a political statement. This is a statement of unity,” Brooks said of the honor.
Brooks is also set to receive a Kennedy Center honor this spring. Sixteen albums, hundreds of tour stops, and one Rock ‘n Roll alter-ego later.
Garth Brooks can pretty safely say he's done it all. But we can't wait to see what he does next.