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Garth Brooks: Fresh Horses (Capitol)

Eric Weisbard, Spin, February 1996

LISTENING TO Walk a Mile in My Shoes, RCA's recent boxed set of 70s-era Elvis Presley, I caught an echo of Garth Brooks. For years now, fans have been explaining to their "urbane" friends how impressive Garth's music is, as if Brooks, who will soon claim second place, behind the Beatles, in all-time U.S. album sales, needed the boost. We've cited 'We Shall Be Free', his risky message of tolerance towards homosexuals. We've applauded the domestic-violence imagery that got the 'Thunder Rolls' video banned from Country Music Television. And we've praised the musical daring of his weaving into country both singer-songwriter confessionalism and 70s arena rock, Billy Joel and Kiss covers.

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