Everything We Know About Garth Brooks’ Upcoming New Album, ‘Gunslinger’
If anyone doubted that Garth Brooks could make a comeback when he returned to country music after a decade-long hiatus, he’s proven them wrong in 2016. Whether he was adding even more dates to his World Tour (which has been going since the fall of 2014), playing his first-ever show at the Ryman Auditorium or launching his very own satellite radio channel, Brooks has practically turned 2016 into the “Year of Garth” — he’s even got the 2016 CMA Awards Entertainer of the Year trophy to prove it!
Now, there’s one more reason to for Garth Brooks fans to get excited: In early November, the country icon released his 11th studio album as part of a box set, The Ultimate Collection, available exclusively through Target, and will soon release it as a standalone project. While many of the details about Brooks’ new studio project are still under wraps, here’s what we know so far.
Brooks’ new album will be titled Gunslinger. He announced the album’s title on Oct. 15, during the SEC Game of the Week on CBS.
The Release Date
Brooks’ new album was initially released on Nov. 11 as part of the 10-disc box set The Ultimate Collection, available exclusively from Target. A wider, standalone release will follow on Nov. 25.
Gunslinger will be Brooks’ first studio album to be released to streaming services. The star has partnered with Amazon Music Unlimited for an exclusive streaming deal.
The Album Cover
The album cover for Brooks’ The Ultimate Collection box set features the singer in his signature look: a well-groomed goatee, classic white cowboy hat and blue-collar plaid shirt. The artwork specifically for his new album is also classic Brooks; fans can see it above.
The Record Label
Brooks’ new release will be under his own record label, Pearl Records. The singer left RCA Nashville back in August.
Mark Miller produced Gunslinger.
Brooks released the first single from his new album on Oct. 13. An upbeat, guitar-heavy song that also has a strong dose of organ riffs (yep, you heard that right!), “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance” sounds almost like a pop song from the ’80s, but it’s also 100-percent Brooks. The artist says that the song is both fun and meaningful, as it was the last song he wrote with Kim Williams before the legendary songwriter passed away in February.
“I’ve got to tell you, I love love love this song, but probably my greatest joy is the fact that this is a Kim Williams song,” Brooks admits. “Not only did it make this record, it’s the first single off this record.”
In addition to “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance,” Brooks’ next album will include a song called “Pure Adrenaline,” as well as one called “Whiskey to Wine.” The former, written by Brooks and Gordon Kennedy, is being used as the SEC on CBS theme song in 2016, while the latter, Brooks performed at his recent Ryman concert.
Another song on Gunslinger, “8teen,” Brooks says, features lyrics where “every word is some kinda hidden-trick treasure that goes back to something else.”
“No one in the world is going to know what it’s about,” he teases, “but people that know us, know our history and have known us for 30 years, are gonna start digging in and finding it’s got a lot of hidden little jewels in it.”
A complete track listing for Gunslinger is below. Brooks tells Taste of Country that Williams has three songs on the new project.
Garth Brooks, Gunslinger Track Listing:
1. “Honky-Tonk Somewhere”
3. “Ask Me How I Know”
4. “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance”
5. “He Really Loves You”
6. “Whiskey to Wine”
7. “BANG! BANG!”
8. “Pure Adrenaline”
11. “Cowboys and Friends” (Target exclusive track)
12. “Friends in Low Places” (25th anniversary edition) (Target exclusive track)
Since Brooks released his last studio album, 2014’s Man Against Machine, fans have been eager to hear its followup. The country superstar originally said that a second new record would follow in late 2015 or early 2016; however, in March of 2016, Brooks revealed that he was delaying the project.
“When it comes to the new music, the one thing I keep hearing over and over is, ‘Where is the Garth stuff?’” Brooks writes. “I made the statement that when we came back on the road and into the studio, I was not confident in my own writing … it is a muscle, and if you don’t use it, you just can’t turn it back on again … it takes time … but I DID hear you … I ask for your patience as I explore the writing again … This new album will be the most Garth thing I have ever done … whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, you will decide.”
In September of 2015, Brooks revealed that he had lost six months’ worth of songs he was working on for an upcoming new album — all thanks to a broken cell phone — but it is unclear how that lost work played into the delay.
Brooks has been on his World Tour since 2014, with his wife and fellow country icon, Trisha Yearwood, performing as a special guest. Brooks has been adding new dates left and right since the trek began … Maybe he’ll just keep touring forever!
Unforgettable Garth Brooks Comeback Moments
See Garth Brooks + More Country Stars’ Best Selfies