When Garth Brooks notices a woman holding a sign, he exits the stage immediately and runs to her… Then…

Many singers and artists are well aware of the fact that music can aid us even in the darkest and most trying of times. When the lady in the room heard the sign being read, Garth Brooks was fully aware of what was about to take place.

In Oklahoma restaurants and bars, most notably Wild Willie’s Saloon in Stillwater, Brooks started his professional music career in 1985 by singing and playing the guitar. Brooks was exposed to a variety of music through his older siblings.

Brooks enjoyed rock music the most and cited James Taylor, Dan Fogelberg, and Townes Van Zandt as key influences. He did, however, listen to some country music, particularly George Jones’. After hearing George Strait’s debut hit, “Unwound,” in 1981, Brooks realized he was more interested in performing country music.

Rod Phelps, an entertainment lawyer from Dallas, drove to listen to Brooks in 1985. Phelps offered to produce Brooks’ initial demo because he thought it was good. Brooks went to Nashville to look for a recording contract with Phelps’ encouragement, along with a list of Phelps’ connections there and several of his credit cards; he returned to Oklahoma within a day.

Brooks did as Phelps continued to nudge him to head back to Nashville. After moving to Nashville in 1987 with his wife Sandy Mahl, Brooks started networking in the music business.

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