Garth remains the tops in Nashville

Garth Brooks performs during the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductions in Nashville  AP/Mark Humphrey
Garth Brooks performs during the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductions in Nashville AP/Mark Humphrey
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The dynamic career of GARTH BROOKS went full circle in Nashville in recent days when he was awarded the ‘Entertainer of the Year’ award by the American Country Music Association.

Garth last won this award in 1998 - the year he performed at the King’s Hall in Belfast at five shows before 35,000 fans - and he recently returned to the rostrum to lift the prestigious accolade.

The Oklahoma man admitted he thought his 1998 win in this category would be his last. Brooks announced a retirement from the road in October 2000 to have a life at home and raise his three daughters. He returned in 2014 and has been making huge waves in country music since.

“I went a kind of numb after they called my name,” he told reporters backstage after the latest award.

“When I retired, I never thought I’d get to come back. And then you come back and you never think you’re going to win one of these again.”

Garth holds the record as having most wins for ‘Entertainer of the Year’ with five.

“Awards are for younger artistes,” he maintains. “The older you get, the more precious they get. People think it’s the other way around, that the older you get, you know, the more ordinary it gets. We were lucky enough to have the largest tour in the world at the end of the 1990s, which earned us two of these.”

Garth, now 54, is now on what he describes as a “world tour” with his second wife Trisha Yearwood, although most of the show dates are located in North America, where his stock is very high. Not so, in Ireland after the 2014 debacle when he pulled out of five sold-out concerts for 400,000 fans at Croke Park in Dublin.

The singer has promised to return to Ireland to identify with his huge fan base here, but when that is likely to happen is anybody’s guess.

Brooks is the best-selling solo albums’ singer artiste in the United States with 138 million domestic units sold, ahead of Elvis Presley, and is second only to The Beatles in total album sales overall. He is also one of the world’s best-selling artistes of all time, having sold more than 160 million records.

He is now the only artiste in music history to have released seven albums that achieved diamond status in the United States - Garth Brooks, No Fences, Ropin’ the Wind, The Hits, Sevens, Double Live, and The Ultimate Hits.

* Dolly Parton also picked up the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement award at the Country Music Association evening.

The 70-year-old East Tennessee ‘First Lady’ thanked her considerable fan base for helping achieve what she has got in a long caeeer.

“You’ve helped make this all possible,” she said, pledging to keep going in what she truly loves. “Of course, you never know what you’re gonna become or what you’re gonna achieve when you start out.”

* Singer KAY STARR, who made successful moves into country music from pop in the early 1950s, has died at her home in Los Angeles. She was 94 and suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

Starr, from Oklahoma, had a powerful yet intimate voice and sang alongside Tennessee Ernie Ford, Tony Bennett and Pee Wee King, who recorded the Tennessee Waltz.

Her first hit was with You Were Only Foolin’ (While I Was Fallin’ in Love) and her next single So Tired made it into the Top 10, and the novelty Hoop De Doo did even better, rising to No 2 in 1949. Later she had a huge hit with Bonaparte’s Retreat.

Popwise, Kay Starr enjoyed massive hits, among them Wheel of Fortune, Side by Side, Changing Partners and If You Love Me (Really Love Me).