Recommendation XXXIII: Garth Brooks

Howdy there. Guess what? I’m back at the library, and able to blog once more. I had an exciting last week with all the hype that came with the Democratic National Convention here in Denver and it was crazy to see all those huge amounts of people out and about in downtown (I woulda really liked to have experienced seeing one of the protests though haha). I liked hearing the speeches last week and am looking forward to listening to all the speeches that will be given this week with the Republican National Convention (I was really thrilled to hear Brooks & Dunn‘s “Only In America” come on the speakers after Obama gave his speech – that was pretty cool). Now, we’re dealing with Gustav, and it’s good to hear that it’s not as bad as expected and New Orleans was better prepared this time. Lately, I’ve been watching the news a lot, so I’m pretty aware of things going on (which is good for a young guy like me… I should know this stuff). Right now, it is almost 1:30am and Tuesday morning, and I’m typing up my first draft to post later today (I am lovin’ having the day off)…

My thirty-third recommendation is: Garth Brooks’s “Don’t Cross the River” from his 2001 Scarecrow album.  This is actually a first for iCF Music (and surprisingly, the first time I’ve ever mentioned Garth in this blog, I think).  It’s a first because usually the music I recommend is available for legal download on iTunes or somewhere else (I wouldn’t recommend obtaining it illegally either), but unfortunately, Mr. Brooks and his decision doesn’t leave me any choice in the matter because songs of his’ cannot be purchased individually (you have to buy the entire album somewhere online or offline).  His argument has something to with songwriters and something else, or whatever (can’t remember exactly, but it did make sense)… though I think putting your music on iTunes and other online stores makes it easier for fans (and the environment, to an extent) because buying songs individually is better for the wallets and IMO, lessens the risk of illegal downloading.  But whatever, that’s a whole other issue lol, and I want to get to the music and the man.  Garth Brooks is one of my very top favorites (my fifth most favorite artist) and I think he’s incredible.  He’s so good that my most favorite song of his’ keeps changing and it’s tough for me to pick just one (I think I’ve got the top narrowed down to either “That Summer”, “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)”, “The Beaches of Cheyenne”, or “The Dance”.

“Don’t Cross the River” (I hope the audio link works for it) is one of my top non-single favorites from Garth.  Like I mentioned before, you can’t get it off iTunes, so you have to buy the whole Scarecrow album to get it, but it’s not a big deal because Scarecrow has excellent music on it and you’ll love it and it’s a great buy (you can try eBay or Amazon.com to buy used copies for cheap too… and it could be at a Walmart store).  This song is very different than other Garth material because it’s pure bluegrass.  With Sam Bush on mandolin, Jerry Douglas on dobro, Trisha Yearwood on harmonies, and other great instrumentation like a sweet fiddle, banjo, acoustic guitar solo, you seriously can’t go wrong.  It’s a very catchy uptempo that makes you wanna sing along and promotes the bluegrass genre well.  Garth sings his heart out with soul and his diverse talent can’t be denied.  Saying all that, with the irresistible music, lyrics, and vocals, I’m not quite sure what the lyrics are about… I think it’s about the singer of the song warning this one girl not to jump into something without considering the consequences, in this case, with love (she gets into relationships and then wants to get out and doesn’t know why).  I really like the words of the chorus: “don’t cross the river, if you can’t swim the tide…“, which is a good advice for lots of things in life.  I actually like to run with this song blaring on my iPod haha, because of the smokin’ acoustics and the quick tempo – just makes you feel good and in that speedy mood.

Scarecrow is the only non-hits album of Garth’s that I own.  I just haven’t been able to buy his other albums because I already owned his Double Live album and didn’t feel the need to buy his other music (but I did buy The Ultimate Hits discs last year – the pink special Breast Cancer edition, oh yeah) and I’m pretty satisfied with them.  I still NEED to get The Lost Sessions album, though.  Anyway, Scarecrow is excellent and I don’t know why it wasn’t a bigger hit of an album, especially when it was Garth’s “last” studio album before retirement (“Why Ain’t I Running?” is such a good song… and was released as a radio single, right?  Don’t know how it wasn’t huge.  Should have been).  With duets with George Jones (“Beer Run”) and his wife, Trisha Yearwood (“Squeeze Me In”), “Wrapped Up In You”, “Rodeo or Mexico?”, and the closing slow song, “When You Come Back to Me Again” (and the other good songs), this is an album that has something for about any country music/Garth fan.  Bah, bah, bah, bah, bah, bah, bah, bah… (and harmonica solo out)

Thanks for reading!

Here are the full lyrics to “Don’t Cross the River”, written by Dan Peck:

There’s a little girl out lying on her own
She’s got a broken heart
She’s not the kind to keep you down for long
She knows and plays it smart

And if she’s coming, she’s shown no more
She’s heard no whistle blowing from the door
She feels like leaving and she don’t know why
Without no bridges, she’s trapped, so I sigh…

Don’t cross the river, if you can’t swim the tide
Don’t try denying living on the other side
All your life, you were on your own

If you want, you can ride my train
Soon forget the reason that you’re leaving
Lose yourself and then sometimes
Maybe even save yourself some grieving

Don’t cross the river, if you can’t swim the tide
Don’t try denying living on the other side
All your life, you were on your own

If you want, you can ride my train
Soon forget the reason that you’re leaving
Lose yourself and then sometimes
Maybe even save yourself some grieving

Don’t cross the river, if you can’t swim the tide
Don’t try denying living on the other side
Don’t cross the river, if you can’t swim the tide
Don’t try denying living on the other side
All your life, you were on your own

Don’t cross (no, don’t cross)
Don’t try (no, don’t try)
Don’t cross (no, don’t cross)
Don’t try (no, don’t try)

—————————————————-

http://www.planetgarth.com/

http://www.garthbrooks.com/

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2 Comments

  1. I always thought Scare crow was underrated. It’s a very good album. I’d advise you to get his other albums too. While a lot of people rag on him these days, I’m still a very big fan. You’re right that this song is awesome. I’d love for Garth to explore bluegrass even more for a whole album. I think his voice suits the genre nicely.

  2. Yes, I love this album. I’ll definitely get his others albums someday, and it should be easy since they’re all priced cheap.

    I just read on the CMT.com blog that Garth performed this song with Jerry Douglas and Trisha at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum last night! So so cool.
    http://blog.cmt.com/2008-10-01/when-jerry-douglas-calls-garth-brooks-answers/


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