Garth Brooks Sells Out Fast

Garth Brooks, who announced recently that he was coming out of retirement, has sold out his first 20 shows at the Wynn Las Vegas resort in less than 24 hours, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Brooks retired in 2001 and said that he’d promised his daughters — then 4, 6 and 8 — to make his family the top priority in his life. When he was approached by Steve Wynn, Brooks was skeptical. “I said he couldn’t afford me,” Brooks said. “I was wrong.” The deal got the approval of his wife, country singer Trisha Yearwood, and his daughters Taylor, August and Allie, writes blogger Randy Lewis for the Los Angeles Times:

Brooks is a believer in democracy at home as well as in politics, and described regular family meetings where “we sit and we talk about anything and everything” and where each member of the family can freely air complaints or concerns.

“We started talking about the Vegas deal,” said Brooks. “I said ‘Guys, here’s the opportunity that’s come up, here’s where we’re at.’ And when I explained it to them, all they did was look at each other, then Taylor said, ‘Can we go?’ I said ‘Yep,’ and they were in. That was it.

“The truth is,” Brooks said, pausing briefly, “I’m halfway through what I retired to do. And this last half might be even more important than the first half. So I’m not going to let anything screw that up. So I’ve got a guy here who’s been sweet enough to make it easy for me to do this.

“And if it doesn’t work, we’ll quit doing it. And again, I have to now think, am I supposed to be doing this because I’d be stupid to pass it up?” His eyes glance skyward. “We’ll just give it a shot and see.”

Brooks, the best-selling solo musical act in history, has a five-year deal with the casino to play 15 weeks of shows a year in the 1,500-seat Encore theater. Shows begin Dec. 11.

Tim McGraw’s New Album Out

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Tim McGraw’s new album Southern Voice hit stores Oct. 20. His 10th with producer Byron Gallimore, the album was three years in the making. McGraw tells Reuters that it was an exceptionally long time to go without a new release:

“I was still in my 30s (when the album was recorded),” McGraw says. “It was a whole other decade for me.”

He recorded once again with his road band, the Dancehall Doctors. “I feel like it’s a great collection of songs, and sonically I think the band sounds really great,” McGraw says. “I think it has a real grounded earthiness to it.”

Even so, McGraw says it’s difficult to wait so long to release a record, “because you’re so excited about music when you first do it and it’s new,” he admits. “Now I’m getting ready to go into the studio here in a month and start the next album, so I’m onto other songs now. But the great thing is I’m excited about people finally hearing this record.”

McGraw blamed the delay on Curb Records. He has one more contractually obligated album owed to the label, and in the time between new releases the company has shoveled out four greatest-hits collections of his work. “It has to be just as confusing to the fans as it is to me,” he said.

Sam Shepard Joins New Western

Sam Shepard and the Spanish actor Eduardo Noriega have signed on to Blackthorn, a new Western that’s filming next year in Bolivia. Screen Daily provides more details on the project, which is being directed by Mateo Gil:

Blackthorn will tell the story of an old American named James Blackthorn (alias Butch Cassidy), played by Shepard, who raises horses in Bolivia but is dying and wants to return to the US. However, along the way he crosses paths with a young Spanish mining engineer accused of robbing a mine (Noriega), and the two slowly strike up a friendship.

“One of the things I like most about westerns is that it’s a truly moral genre. The characters face life and death, and other very important matters (freedom, commitment, loyalty, courage, treacher, justice, friendship… and even love) in very pure and simple terms. The decisions they make are not only very dramatic, but set examples. What more can you ask from a film?,” says Mateo Gil.

Gil, 37, is a Spanish director and screenwriter whose 1997 film Abre los Ojos was adapted into the American film Vanilla Sky.

Interview with Western Novelist Oscar Case

In an interview on the blog Davy Crockett’s Almanac, novelist Oscar Case describes the plot of his new book The Stranger from the Valley:

Chappie Wesford is a typical Marshal, but he is assigned to carry out an untypical mission, and puts his badge aside to travel to Altaveel for the Army to present awards to two citizens of the town. He is an older man, fearless, quick on the draw,  good at fisticuffs, and has a well-trained horse. He is a widower, easygoing, and falls for Widow Bigknife, who is shunned by the local wives, who think she is a woman of little virtue. New to the town, he has to make friends and win over enemies to complete the mission.

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