‘Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On’ Brings The Feels With Big-Hearted Video Memoir Of Country Icon (2024)

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Garth Brooks: The Road I'm On

  • ‘Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On’ Brings The Feels With Big-Hearted Video Memoir Of Country Icon (1)
  • ‘Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On’ Brings The Feels With Big-Hearted Video Memoir Of Country Icon (2)

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Everything about Garth Brooks is big. Big songs. Big emotions. Big sales. Big show. As big as NASCAR. OK, maybe not that big but definitely bigger than Major League Soccer. As big as the wide open range in his home state of Oklahoma and maybe even Texas. He of the omnipresent headset mic, with more two-toned striped tops than a ska band. There’s not a lot that’s subtle about Garth Brooks. Except his music. It can simmer with feeling just as easily as it swings for the fences and his vocals are as nuanced and emotive as anyone in country music’s illustrious history.

The 2-part biodoc Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On tells his story as he sees it but with plenty of input from his loved ones, including both wives, one of whom is fellow country superstar Trisha Yearwood. Beefy and barrel chested, Garth is…intense. At times he reminds me of such other exaggerated middle-aged alpha males as Alex Jones, minus the far-right politics and conspiracy theories, and in his more contemplative moments Joe Rogan. He cries. A lot. He cries talking about his Dad. He cries talking about his Mom. More than once. He cries talking about his kids. He cries talking about playing Central Park to a million people. He cries talking about the concession stand girl who was crying so he brought her up on stage and then she cried some more and then he starts crying at the memory of it all. You know, the big guys, they got big feels.

Brooks grew up in Yukon, OK, in his words, “The land of common sense.” He fought for attention as the youngest of 6 kids in a blended family. According to his siblings, he usually got it. His mother was a dreamer who gave up her career as a country singer for motherhood, a sacrifice he’ll never forget. His dad was an old school man’s man who installed in him a sense of hard work, sincerity and focus. Brooks played team sports and attended Oklahoma State University on a partial javelin scholarship.

Country singer George Strait inspired Brooks to pursue a life in country music but he had big ears and was also a fan of 1970s singer-songwriters and classic rock. Playing around Stillwater, OK, Brooks covered Billy Joel and Elton John alongside his own material and country hits of the day. As he explains, “the greatest entertainers, the greatest of all time are those lucky f***ers that get to do what they want to do and it’s exactly what that crowd came to see.” Early performance tapes show his voice already fully developed.

Like many a country singer before him, Brooks made his way to Nashville and found that all that glitters is not gold. He and first wife Sandy Mahl struggled financially. According to Brooks, “seven visits to seven labels,” resulted in “seven ‘No’s.” After seeing him live, one of the people who had passed on him decided they’d missed something. He was signed in 1988 and released his first album in April 1989. “Now the war was about to begin,” he says with characteristic melodrama.

Brooks estimates he played over 300 shows his first year on the road. While his record sales were initially driven by ballads, his live show featured theatrics on par with the arena rockers of his youth. It would become an essential part of his allure. His popularity soon eclipsed country and crossed into the mainstream, where he battled for chart space with the likes of Nirvana, Metallica and Michael Jackson. “He just reinvented the wheel,” says Billboard magazine’s Melinda Newman.

As we know from every single music documentary ever made, fame and fortune come at a price. Brooks and Mahl’s marriage was already on the rocks but when he realized his three young daughters were growing up without him, he decided it was time for a change. After a decade as one of the biggest artists in the world, Brooks announced his retirement in 2000. He and the family, ex-wife included, moved back to Oklahoma, where Brooks and Mahl shared custody on alternate days for the next 14 years.

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In 2005, Brooks married country singer Trisha Yearwood, who he had met when they were both unknowns singing songwriter demos. After his daughters went off to college, Yearwood encouraged him to tour again. Brooks says he worried no one would show up after announcing his comeback tour in 2014. It would go on to be the highest grossing country tour of all time.

Garth Brooks is an all or nothing proposal. You’re either in or out. You love him, or you don’t. Likewise, The Road I’m On is either a narcissistic one man show or a moving video memoir of a man who cares about his family as much as his career and cares about both of them a heck of a lot (if it’s not obvious, my opinion is the latter). Sometimes his “awww shucks” modesty is a bit hard to take, like, dude, you sold over 170 million records and you’re really scared people aren’t going to come to your show? Still, his emotional extremism seems sincere and that heart on sleeve sentimentality is an essential part of who he is and why people love him. As he describes the years on the road, the endless cycle of shows, autograph sessions and late night drives, he says with no regret, “We were the luckiest guys on the planet.”

Benjamin H. Smith is a New York based writer, producer and musician. Follow him on Twitter:@BHSmithNYC.


  • Garth Brooks: The Road I'm On
  • music documentaries
  • Netflix
‘Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On’ Brings The Feels With Big-Hearted Video Memoir Of Country Icon (2024)


What is the name of the Garth Brooks documentary on Netflix? ›

Garth Brooks: The Road I'm On.

Where can you watch the Garth Brooks documentary? ›

Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood star in the new docuseries 'Friends in Low Places,' premiering Thursday (March 7) on Prime Video.

When did Garth Brooks come out? ›

In 1989, Brooks released his self-titled first album, produced by Allen Reynolds, who encouraged Brooks to use a more relaxed, natural singing style. By 1990, the awards started rushing in.

What streaming service is Garth on? ›

His music is available on Amazon Music, a collaboration that ensures his albums and songs are consumed the way he intends. This exclusivity aligns with Brooks' vision of valuing depth over breadth, fostering a closer connection with his audience through a platform that respects his artistic preferences.

Why is Garth Brooks not on any streaming service? ›

Garth Brooks has been vocal about his views on music distribution and artist compensation, which have significantly influenced his approach to streaming services. His concerns primarily revolve around the valuation of artists' work and the preservation of album integrity.

How many episodes of the Garth Brooks documentary are there? ›

The two-part documentary chronicles Garth's life and career from his early days playing gigs at college bars in Oklahoma and his first unsuccessful trip to Nashville to his record-breaking world tours and balancing family life with global fame.

What is the documentary on Garth Brooks bar in Nashville? ›

In the Prime Video docuseries "Friends in Low Places," Brooks and Yearwood "embark on their most personal journey yet to build the honky-tonk of their dreams in the heart of Nashville," according to a news release.

Does Amazon have Garth Brooks? ›

The Ultimate Hits by Garth Brooks on Amazon Music Unlimited.

What was Garth's first hit? ›

This album contains Brooks' earliest hits, for instance his first ever single, "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)", which peaked at No. 8 on the Country Billboard Charts in 1989.

Why did Garth Brooks quit? ›

Troubled by conflicts between career and family, Brooks retired from recording and performing from 2001 until 2005. During this time, he sold millions of albums through an exclusive distribution deal with Walmart and sporadically released new singles.

What is the documentary about Garth Brooks bar? ›

In the Prime Video docuseries "Friends in Low Places," Brooks and Yearwood "embark on their most personal journey yet to build the honky-tonk of their dreams in the heart of Nashville," according to a news release.

What channel is the Garth Brooks special on? ›

CBS ANNOUNCES A NEW LIVE CONCERT EVENT, “GARTH & TRISHA LIVE!” ON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1, ON CBS. Garth Brooks and his wife, Trisha Yearwood, will appear in the new primetime special GARTH & TRISHA LIVE! Wednesday, April 1 (9:00-10:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network.

How many episodes of Friends in Low Place are on Amazon? ›

The six-episode series, Friends in Low Places, chronicles Brooks and his wife Trisha Yearwood as they build the four-story, 54,715-square-foot venue on Nashville's Lower Broadway.

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