Garth Brooks’ Mother Was a Country Musician in the 1950s

by Jacklyn Krol

Did you know that Garth Brooks’ mom was a country artist?

Colleen Carroll was a country artist in the 1950s. She signed a record deal with Capitol Records. Ironically, Garth would later sign with the record label. Carroll appeared on the ABC television program, Ozark Jubilee

Two of Carroll’s songs, “Blue Bonnet Waltz”  and “No Tellin’,” have recently been uploaded to the internet.

Her final release was in 1994 with “This House.” The song was on her daughter, Betsy Smittle’s record, Rough Around the Edges. Smittle was also the bassist for her half-brother Garth Brooks’ band. Carroll died in 1999 from throat cancer. Smittle passed away in 2013, also from cancer.

Carroll raised her children with music. Garth Brooks learned to play the guitar and banjo and would perform family talent shows.

“Friday and Saturday nights at the house, Jerry played guitar, Jim played the harmonica, Mike played guitar, Betsy played guitar, and, of course, Dad played guitar,” Brooks told Playboy per The Boot. “Mom sang her butt off, Dad sang, Betsy sang, Jerry sang, Jim sang, Mike sang. Kelly and I played the wax comb.”

Garth Brooks’ Tributes to His Mother

In one of her last live performances, Carroll conducted the Oklahoma Youth Symphony. In 1995, the orchestra invited her to act as a guest conductor for an event. They performed one of Garth Brooks’ underappreciated tracks, “When There’s No One Around,” off of his 1997 record, Sevens.

I’m not Garth, as you all can see,” Carroll joked to the audience. “And I know that’s the only reason I’m here is Garth Brooks.” 

In 2014, Garth Brooks penned a song dedicated to his mother, “Mom.” The song was off of his record, Man Against Machine. The heartfelt track depicted a conversation between an unborn baby and God. The baby and God discuss their future mother and how much the newborn is loved.

“They live with you forever, which is what you’re supposed to do. And I’m convinced as a parent, that your kids are not going to feel that way about you ’til you’re gone,” Brooks said in an interview with Kicks 105.5 FM. “I think your job as a parent is to continually feed. They’re listening, just continually feed so hopefully, they can get through life maybe making fewer mistakes than you did because of some kind of input you had.”

Brooks also honored his late mother by naming his daughter, Allie Colleen, after her.