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CD Review: Scarecrow - Garth Brooks

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Scarecrow is Garth's first album of new music in four years, and the wait has been long but it's well worth it with this package of music.

Included here is the rockin' duet with George Jones, "Beer Run," and a sassy upbeat duet with pal Trisha Yearwood on "Squeeze Me In."

Garth has said this is most likely his last solo effort as he's retiring to spend time with his daughters. He said there's virtually no chance he will ever tour again, however in conjunction with this release, he is holding three concerts in different cities, the first three Wednesdays after his album is released. The first in Los Angeles, the second on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise as they return to Norfolk, NJ after serving in the Middle East, and the third (as I write this) at a location to be announced soon. Each of the shows will be taped and portions will be shown on CBS television.

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Another thing Garth is doing is sponsoring a product, Dr. Pepper. You'll be able to see him in various commercials on all the networks.

But we're here to talk about the music. And it is most certainly worth talking about. You can hear some of the roots of his past here in the songs, with echos of Billy Joel, the Beatles, and James Taylor. But there is also a wonderful bluegrass cover, "Don't Cross the River." This was originally recorded by America, but Garth's version is as bluegrass as it comes, and it's amazing!

You've probably heard the two singles, the rambunctious duet with George Jones, "Beer Run," and the Beatle-esque "Wrapped Up In You." There are others that are certain to be released as singles. The duet with Trisha is rockin' and has got to be released as a single. They trade lines about being in a relationship where they just can't seem to connect, and they want the other person to "Squeeze Me In." You'll also recognize the theme from Frequency, which is finally released on CD for the fans. I've always loved the song, and I'm really glad Garth changed his mind about releasing it.

Other songs on the album:

"Why Ain't I Running," talks about a man that is used to being a "love 'em and leave 'em" kind of guy, but now he finds that in the morning he's not leaving, and he doesn't understand it. This is another one I can see as a single.

"The Storm" reminds me a bit of "The Thunder Rolls," in that it's a song about a woman that was left by her partner, and her family all warned her about him, but she wouldn't listen. She survived, but can she survive the storm?"

"Thicker Than Blood" talks about a family that may not have the same last name, but they are a family because "Blood is thicker than water, but love is thicker than blood."

My favorite has to be "Big Money" where Garth talks about his relatives that did dangerous things and ended up dying. The one was a lineman who handled hot wires on power poles, and he said he did it for the money. "Because it pays big money, and man I'm into that. It pays big money, if you're willing to take a chance. Let me tell you something sonny, you should see my bank account. It pays big money, but he sure can't spend it now." He talked about his other relatives, then says you should be nice to your relatives cuz they might leave you in their wills.

There is a huge Billy Joel influence on the song "Mr. Midnight." He talks about being a late night disc jockey at a radio station, taking requests.

"Pushing Up Daisies" has a kind of a dirge-like quality about it. Talks about living your life to the fullest.

"Rodeo or Mexico" is another fun song about a rodeo guy that falls in love with a Mexican girl. Another one that would make a good single.

If this is Garth's last album, I would have to say it's right up there with "No Fences" and "Ropin' The Wind."

Song List:

  1. Why Ain't I Running
  2. Beer Run (The duet with George Jones)
  3. Wrapped Up In You
  4. The Storm
  5. Thicker Than Blood
  6. Big Money
  7. Squeeze Me In (The duet with Trisha Yearwood)
  8. Mr. Midnight
  9. Pushing Up Daisies
  10. Rodeo or Mexico
  11. Don't Cross The River
  12. When You Come Back To Me (Theme from Frequency.)

All graphics © Shelly Fabian, with the exception of the album cover, used with permission of Capitol Nashville.

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