Heading into Thanksgiving week, Garth Brooks may be the busiest man in country music. This week, he’s opening his downtown Nashville honky tonk with a live show, releasing his Limited Series boxed set (complete with a new album) exclusively at Bass Pro Shops, announcing Las Vegas residency dates for 2024, and officially launching his new Garth Radio channel on TuneIn Radio.
Fans who were disappointed when his namesake channel disappeared from Sirius radio can now listen to “a bigger and better version” on TuneIn for free. Blake Carter, the voice of the Garth channel on Sirius, will have an expanded role on this one. It’s the third station announced as part of Brooks SEVENS Radio Network. The Garth Channel plays country, pop, rock, and everything in-between from Brooks’ personal playlist and is broadcast from his “Friends in Low Places” venue on Lower Broadway.
All four-and-a-half floors of his new honky tonk (a bar with live music) won’t be completed until next year. So, while the “official” grand opening won’t take place until Spring of 2024, it opens in abbreviated form this Friday.
Brook’s goal is to create a place where people can come together and celebrate country music. He sees it as a way to give back to a city that’s given so much to him.
“This town has been amazing to me,” he says. “So, when this (opportunity) popped up, the thought was, does Garth Brooks owe Nashville? You bet Garth Brooks owes Nashville!”
But when he decided to create a bar and music venue, instead of putting his own name on the building, he chose to name it after his signature song, “Friends in Low Places.” He says it’s important to remember a song will outlive an artist and this song, in particular, is a pretty good name for a bar. It’s not only one of his biggest hits, it’s also one of the most recognized songs in country music.
“I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, you can like Garth Brooks or you can not like Garth Brooks,” he says, “but either way, chances are you’ve probably sang “Friends in Low Places” at a wedding or something with everybody else.”
His honky tonk will be a place where everyone feels welcome.
“You want your bar to be inclusive,” he says. “I want this to be the Chick-Fil-A of honky tonks. You walk in here you feel like you’re in a good place, everyone has good manners, you feel safe, and you feel like the product’s going to be great.”
Safety will be a top priority. Brooks is funding a Metro Nashville police sub-station right next door, he’s made sure his bar will have multiple exits in the event something were to happen, and he’ll be capping live music at midnight, with the bar itself closing by 2am. (Most honky tonks along Lower Broadway close at 3.)
All of that will come later, when the bar is operating at full capacity. In the weeks to come, it will likely only be open on the weekends, depending on what local permits allow. This Friday, however, Brooks is ready to kick things off in style with a Dive Bar concert featuring new music and some of his greatest hits. The show will stream live on Amazon Prime after the Black Friday football game between the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets.
“Dive Bar shows aren’t very long, they’re not the two-hour thing,” Brooks says. “You’re going to hear new music, but Miss Yearwood and I still go to concerts, and nothing pisses you off more than going to a concert and the artist doesn’t play any of the stuff you came there to hear, right? So, we’ll do the old stuff, too.”
Brooks will be joined on stage by special guest, Ronnie Dunn, his duet partner on a new single called “Rodeo Man.” The song is on Brooks new album Time Traveler which, beginning Friday will be sold in limited boxed sets, only at Bass Pro Shops. Rodeo Man, however, is now available for streaming on Amazon.
With everything else he has going on, Brooks also just announced 18 new dates as part of his Las Vegas residency next year. He says those concerts at Caesars Palace are unlike anything he’s done in the past.
“What I love most about Vegas is we bag the phones. It brings a whole different crowd in there, a crowd that’s focused solely on the music. They sing along, it’s unbelievable, and I really, really enjoy that.”
He adds there are also no set list at those Vegas shows, so everything is free-flowing and and relaxed.
Like his shows in Vegas, those attending this Friday’s live show in Nashville can expect to bag their phones. But that won’t be an issue for the millions expected to tune in to watch it live. Brooks says it’ll be fun, but he’s not making any promises as to the performance. Joking, he adds that things “could” get a little sloppy since the band hasn’t played together for several months.
“But watch that crowd, they’ll come in and save us like they always do,” he says with a laugh. “They’ll sing along, and we’ll have a good time.”
He hopes that carries through to everyone watching via livestream, as well.