While I was in Texas over Christmas I caught the recording of Garth’s live show in South Bend. Garth Brooks is, if anything, a showman. What a lot of people don’t know is that he crafted his early shows by mimicking Chris LeDoux. Not many artists could get away with it, but Garth shares an enormous stage presence and magnetism with LeDoux. It was a symbiotic relationship—Garth helped propel LeDoux’s career past the rodeo circuit.
I’ve never seen Garth in concert. But I did get to see LeDoux in concert before his untimely death, and it was everything a country music fan could ask for.
I can’t hate on Garth. As a rule I don’t blame artists for too much success, even if that success crowds out other talented artists. My buddy who went to that Chris LeDoux show with me thought Garth was the anti-Hank, but I always thought the anti-Hank was Shania Twain. And Garth may have copied LeDoux’s stage act, but his line about a “worn out tape of Chris LeDoux, lonely women, and bad booze” took LeDoux from a cowboy selling albums out of the back of his truck at rodeos to a major label artist. Say what you will about the man, Garth loves country music and has never been shy about sharing that love. But if you’ve never heard LeDoux . . . LeDoux might be in my top 5 all-time favorite country singers. Garth is not. He was the real deal.
Much Too Young is off Garth’s self-titled debut.
LeDoux’s rodeo classic is off his album Whatcha Gonna Do with a Cowboy. It is not the same as the crap checklist country song by Jake Owen of the same name.
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