Garth Brooks Speaks Out on Why He Wants ‘to Be George Strait’

by Josh Lanier
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Garth Brooks says some of his new music could be on a George Strait album, but he doesn’t want to be compared to Strait. Instead, he wants to be George Strait.

Brooks released his first studio album in four years, Fun, on Friday. He also released a live album called Triple Live Deluxe. He gave an interview with CMT to promote the albums when the comparison came up.

“No. I don’t want to be the George Strait of right now. I want to be George Strait,” Brooks said. “That’s all I’ve ever wanted to be. And so much so that my producer Allen (Reynolds) pulled me out of the very first session we ever did — I think we were recording ‘Not Counting You’ — and he goes, ‘What is this voice I’m hearing? There’s already one George Strait. No one’s gonna do it better than George. You just be you.’

“Since then, I’ve been me, but I love Strait and that’ll always be in me. And I’m really proud of that. You do cowboy stuff all the time, but it was playing at the rodeos that was my thing. So the whole cowboy life, like the art of roping and cutting cattle and branding cattle, was my life.”

But the country-music icon understands the comparison. He even thinks one of his new songs would have fit in on one a Strait album.

“There’s a lot of stuff like The Road I’m On, (A Hard Way to Make an) Easy Livin‘ and That’s What Cowboys Do that are pretty much your life now and your life when you started this thing,” Garth Brooks said. That’s What Cowboys Do — that song right there could’ve been on a George Strait record in 1983. It just feels good.”

One of Brooks’ Biggest Hits Was Meant For Strait

Earlier this year, Brooks explained how the song Friends in Low Places wasn’t always meant for him, The Boot reported.

Originally, songwriters Dewayne Blackwell and Earl Bud Lee, wanted George Strait to record the song. But they needed someone who could sound like Strait to entice the country music legend to do the song. So they reached out to Brooks to cut a demo as Strait.

“The reason they asked me to do the demo was because I wanted to be George Strait for years, so I do a pretty good impersonation of him,” Brooks told Taste of Country Nights. “So the original demo of Friends in Low Places I did my best George Strait on it before I ever had a record deal.”

It didn’t work. Strait didn’t want the song. But Brooks did. He had fallen in love with the song during the recording process and decided to record his own version for his album Fences. It was a smash hit.

But Brooks was eventually able to get Strait for the song. The two, along with Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line, performed a version of it for the Garth Brooks – The Ultimate Collection boxset.