Garth Brooks: Billboard

Garth Brooks on Blake Shelton Duet, Touring Stadiums & Having 'The Best Time of My Life': Exclusive

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On Tuesday, “Dive Bar” -- Garth Brooks’ new duet with Blake Shelton -- hits country radio. 

The irrepressibly catchy romp, written by Brooks, Mitch Rossell and Brian Kennedy, has the same rowdy vibe as two of Brooks' previous classics: the iconic “Friends in Low Places” and the live favorite “Two Pina Coladas.”

The barroom anthem arrives at one of the busiest times of Brooks’ career. After selling 6.4 million tickets during his 2014-17 arena tour, Brooks is in the midst of a three-year stadium tour; he and Shelton will perform “Dive Bar” together July 19, at the first of Brooks’ two sold-out shows at Boise, Idaho’s Albertsons Stadium. He is also finishing his new studio album, Fun, while a vinyl box set that includes new triple live album, are forthcoming.

Seated on a sofa on the third floor of Allentown, his recording studio on Nashville’s Music Row, Brooks, dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt, reflects on “Dive Bar” (which he describes as “Jones meets Stones”), his record-breaking stadium tour, how he can offer the Legacy box set at such a low price for fans, and why he doesn’t have to play the game like everyone else.

How did Blake end up on “Dive Bar”?

I was watching the ACMs this year, and there was one performance that really hit me hard: Blake Shelton's “God's Country.” I thought, “I’m feeling something here that's drawing me right into this television.” So I just reached out for him. He was so sweet on the phone. The last thing I said was, “Hey, man, I don't want to put you on the spot, but we got a song that might be a pretty cool duet.”

I want to go on record saying I did not think it would sound like this. I didn't know what I was expecting, but I’ve never heard him sing like that before. … We recorded together and it was fun to watch him. My biggest shock in all of this is I think I know my voice and I think I know his, but there were several times I looked over at Matt, the engineer, when we were mixing it going, “Is that him or me?” 

Will “Dive Bar” be available on any streaming services besides Amazon, where you have your exclusive deal?

No. I made sure Blake understood that first and then I told Amazon, “This guy gets streams out the ass because he's on Spotify, you guys and Apple. Doing this, you're going to cut his streams on this way down, so I need you to overperform on your end. Put him on every playlist you possibly can.” Of course that helps me, but the main thing is, I just don't want to hurt Blake.

You're filming your performance in Boise. Will there also be a conceptual video? 

Yes, you can do it different than any video you've ever done, which is always good. I want to do it underwater, but my problem is he's a foot taller than me, so I'm going to drown first (Laughs). But it's got to be nothing short of fun because that's what the song deserves. We'll be shooting the video sooner rather than later.