December 6, 2013 in Features

Brooks recycles songs for box set

Michael Mccall Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

The cover of Garth Brooks’ eight-disc box set, “Blame It All On My Roots.”
(Full-size photo)

Album review

Garth Brooks, “Blame It All

On My Roots” (Pearl)

Garth Brooks offers fans a Christmas gift with a discount-priced box set that takes another look back rather than moving forward.

“Blame It All On My Roots” is a massive, eight-disc package. Four CDs are devoted to the Oklahoman covering classic songs from country, rock, soul and acoustic singer-songwriters. Two CDs are a previously available greatest-hits double disc set, and two DVDs present a recorded concert in Las Vegas and most of his old music videos.

The covers lean heavily on songs nearly every listener will know, giving it a Garth-does-karaoke feel. There’s not a song among the 40 new cuts that presents a lesser-known song important to Brooks.

As would be expected, Brooks connects best with the country covers: His version of Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya” and a duet with wife Trisha Yearwood on “After The Fire Is Gone” deserve airplay.

On the other hand, the soul songs suffer from canned arrangements and from Brooks straining to bring Wilson Pickett-style growls and grunts to vocals that are otherwise serviceable, but never remarkable. The Nashville studio musicians do better at injecting life into classic rock and the songwriter albums, staying exceedingly faithful to the originals.

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