As he embarks into his 26th year on your radio, Garth Brooks started out playing many nightclubs, including Guitars & Cadillacs in Kansas City. 

Garth was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and grew up in Yukon, Oklahoma, the son of Troyal Raymond Brooks, Jr., an oil company draftsman. His mom was a country singer in the 50's that appeared on the Ozark Jubilee in Springfield, Missouri. Garth grew up listening to some country but it was mostly rock music that filled his childhood days. He participated in weekly family talent shows where he learned to play guitar and banjo. In 1987, Brooks and his wife Sandy, moved to Nashville, and Brooks began making contacts in the music industry.

His first album came out in 1989. I was working as DJ at a nightclub, Guitars & Cadillacs in Kansas City. The one thing I remember about Garth was his sincerity. He was down to earth and made you feel like you'd know him forever.

There were two particular things I remember about the concert. Towards the end of the show he sent his band off stage and he sat on a stool with his guitar and started playing and singing Don McLean's "American Pie". The stage was dark except for the one spotlight on him, and everyone was singing along.

The second remembrance was after the show out by his tour bus. I remembered being introduced to Garth and we talked for a few minutes. After our conversation his tour manager wanted him to meet a few other people. Garth turned to me, and called me by name, saying he need to talk to some others but it was nice visiting with me. I was blown away that he had remembered me, by name, as there were so many others he had visited with that evening. It made a big impression with me, one I will never forget.

Now tickets for that particular show was $5.00. Of course back in the late 80's, ticket prices for a lot of your country concerts were around that five to ten dollar range. Such artists as Mark Chesnutt, Brooks and Dunn, Travis Tritt, The Kentucky Headhunters and Clint Black were just getting started in the business. It was more common in those days for new artists to play a concert schedule that included country nightclubs across the country.

I imagine if you ask Garth about his early days, he would smile and recount some great memories of concerts and road trips across the country.

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Marla Zirkle
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