garth-gunslinger-cover Garth Brooks, twenty years ago, changed for good the way country music is arranged and played, in such a profound and radical way, that it triggered an irreversible process that, on one hand, raised the eyebrows of the traditionalistic lover of the old time sound, whilst on the other, opened the doors to a genre, gathering millions of new fans. He has also changed the way country music is presented, transforming it from listening music to a “live” phenomenon. Because of this, concerts played in saloons and honky tonk bars were now played in baseball or football stadiums to accommodate the thousands of spectators, hungry for the “new country”. The sound systems, lighting and the organizational machine which rotates around a big show has had to adapt to the standards of the most important rock concerts, and record companies now started looking around to invest in the young talented newcomers of this musical genre. Undoubtedly, the 90’s were the golden years of country music. At that time Garth Brooks is the undisputed king of this kind of music, and Nashville its capital. All this thanks to the incredible talents, both as a performer and as a showman, of this singer from Oklahoma, who turns everything he touches into gold. But, as in all fairy tales, the magic cannot last forever, and Garth, at the height of his success, decides to retire as “a winner”, not releasing a record for 13 years. This silence was finally broken only at the end of 2014 when “Man Against Machine” was released and ultimately this “Gunslinger”. 10 original tracks (11 and a half in the “special edition” box, “The Ultimate Collection”) published by Pearl Records and produced by Mark Miller. The first track is “Honky Tonk Somewhere” and continues with “Weekend”, a song written by Garth and Benite Hill in pure Kenny Chesney style. “Baby Let’s Lay Down and Dance” is a great track, whilst “Pure Adrenaline” I think, is the least successful song of the Cd. Garth still has an incredible voice, his songs are always very catchy well-written (especially “Whiskey To Wine”, sung with his wife Trisha Yearwood, “Cowboys and Friends” and “Ask Me How I Know”) and Gunslinger flows away like a sip of fresh water. All in all, it’s a good album, definitely worth buying. But don’t make the mistake of comparing it to “No Fences”, “Ropin’ The Wind” and “Fresh Horses” … .It’s a known fact, that, as in all fairy tales, the magic cannot last forever. (Gianluca Sitta)