© 2001 Capitol
Garth Brooks first studio album in four years, 'Scarecrow'……..a title chosen by his daughters……. was released on November 13, 2001 and immediately debuted in both the Billboard Top Country Albums and Billboard 200 charts at number one.
There are 12 tracks on the album, all coming from outside writers, with Garth involved as co-writer of 4. Opening up with the lively 'Why Ain't I Running,' this is a great song from the pens of Kent Blazy, Tony Arata (The Dance) and Garth, that immediately makes the statement, "the man is back" and sounding like he has never been away. The tempo stays in the fast lane as this is followed by the duet with George Jones, 'Beer Run,' a good, fun honky tonker, that has already seen much airplay on country radio, both here and in the states. The song has also been nominated for a Grammy in the Best Collaboration category.
George isn't the only duet partner on here either, as Garth teams up once again with his former merchandise seller, Trisha Yearwood, on the Gary Nicholson, Delbert McClinton penned 'Squeeze Me In,' a franticly paced rock & roller that is sure to get the feet moving. Phew!!!
The first single to be taken from the album, was 'Wrapped Up In You,' a funky, mid-paced love song from the pen of Wayne Kirkpatrick that didn't really appeal to me on it's release. The track is definitely a grower though, with some very tasty Harmonica playing from Terry McMillan, especially on the nearly 2 minute instrumental at the end. There's also a treat on here for traditional fans with the wonderful, Bluegrassy, 'Don't Cross The River.' Featuring Bela Fleck on Banjo, Sam Bush on Mandolin, Pat Flynn on Acoustic Guitar and Jerry Douglas on Dobro, it just doesn't get much better than this! Brilliant!!!
If your looking for something slower then check out 'The Storm' a song telling of the violant break-up of a relationship, or 'Thicker Than Blood,' a Garth/Jenny Yates co-write that asks why we always have to show hostility when we don't agree with someone else opinions. Jenny and Garth also co-wrote the albums closer, 'When You Come Back Again,' a powerful love ballad used as the theme for the film 'Frequency.' 'Mr Midnight' is a song about a late night radio DJ who gets a surprise call from his ex lover…..who doesn't know it is him……….and asks for a request in his name. I like the twist at the end; "Imagine my surprise when she spoke my name, could you tell him that I love him and I wish things could be the same. Then a voice I never knew said "Honey, who you talking to."
Another good candidate for release as a single is 'Big Money' a good fun song that tells of looking for the easy option when it comes to making money. As it says in the 'Bridge' "Well now the moral of this story boys, is don't go getting yourself killed. Be kind to your rich relatives, they just might put you in their will." Good fun!
With Kevin Welch, John Hadley and Gary Scruggs providing the Celtic sounding 'Pushing Up Daisies' and Paul Kennerley and Bryan Kennedy throwing their pens in with Garth on the honky-tonkin,' 'Rodeo Or Mexico' the album contains a mix of power ballads, rock, traditional and good ole honky-tonk, that should please all his fans, whichever direction they come from musically.
After a 4 year hiatus, many will be asking, "was it worth the wait?" Well, after…..for me at least….. poor outings with 'Fresh Horses,' and 'Sevens,' my answer would be an emphatic YES! 'Scarecrow' sees Garth Brooks back to his very best, for an album that is sure to bring more success, and who knows, break yet more records, for this popular, talented and genuine entertainer. In fact, by the end of December 2001, Scarecrow had been certified Triple Platinum (3 million sales) by the RIAA (Recording Industry Assn. of America). So the figures speak for themselves!
In my book, 'Scarecrow' is one of the best albums Garth has done to date.