In this week’s spotlight “Low places” [Dec. 15], we’re informed that Garth Brooks “is a gateway to great country music” and that Waylon Jennings is “full of it” for calling Brooks out on his watered-down, nauseating brand of (pop) country music. The writer implies that the mundane consistency of Garth’s music career is somehow superior to Waylon’s transformation from commercial country singer to pioneer of the outlaw country movement. In essence, he is telling us that an adherence to crappy commercial values is to be celebrated over the striving for artistic integrity. A dubious proposition, no?
If Garth Brooks is a gateway to great country music, then McDonald’s is a gateway to weight loss and Sunset Boulevard is a gateway to the Bob Marshall Wilderness. If anything, the front door of whoever wrote this Spotlight is a gateway to Fairy Land.
We’re also told that Garth will be heard at any decent bonfire party. Let it here be known that if anyone comes to a bonfire party of my own, singing or playing anything by Garth Brooks, they will quickly find themselves cast into the conflagration. As the flames dance over their obnoxious body, cleansing and purifying them of their grievous offense, they will be welcome to sing along as I strum my guitar and croon the chorus of an old country favorite. The horns will blast away, signaling the bravado and triumph of the victor, and this country music phony will be awakened to the true power of REAL country music: “I fell into a burning ring of fire. / I went down, down, down, / and the flames went higher. / And it burned, burned, burned, / the ring of fire. / The ring of fire...”