What Garth Brooks Taught Me In Concert

FullSizeRenderWithout a doubt the CD I’ve listened to the most in my lifetime is “Double Live” by Garth Brooks. 

There is something magical about this album to me. Garth Brooks’ songbook was the soundtrack to my childhood. Growing up in Tennessee and Georgia I was raised on 90s country music. And Garth’s music was the gold standard.

“Double Live” collected all of Garth’s greatest hits across a 2 disc live set. So to begin with every song was a winner. Add in the raucous live crowd that Garth drew to his incredible live performances and you have the makings for an amazing album.

I listened to that CD on my headphones in the backseat of so many family car trips. I blasted it on the boom box in my room. I’ve rocked out to it with the windows down in every car I’ve ever driven.

Those opening chords of “Callin’ Baton Rouge” on disc one stir up a special feeling in my soul no other album does.

So there weren’t a lot of surprises when my fiancé and I saw Garth Brooks this weekend in Atlanta as part of his first world tour in over 12 years.

I knew when all the solos would be. I knew when Garth would stop singing and let the audience sing the words to “Unanswered Prayers”. I knew to expect the mysterious 3rd verse for “Friends In Low Places”.

Yet as many times as I’ve listened to Garth Brooks live on CD, there was something so incredibly different about seeing Garth Brooks live and in person.  Continue reading

Thrift Shop Gospel


Who ever thought the thrift shop would be in style? With his ridiculous ode to secondhand shopping, Macklemore has the hottest song in the country, a horn-heavy homage to the greatness of Goodwill shopping.

Seems secondhand stores are bigger than ever. Besides general thrift stores like the Salvation Army, specialized consignment shops are popping up everywhere paying top dollar for used clothes, DVDs, cds, and books. Even big businesses like Best Buy and Toys R Us are now giving away cash instead of taking it, buying back old video games and Blu Rays.

Just the other day I put together a pile of movies and books cluttering up my shelves and headed to the local thread of thrift stores in Augusta. I rode into parking lots pumping Macklemore’s hit on my speakers, expecting to walk into the store with twenty dollars in my pocket and walk out with a secondhand swagger, or at least with twenty more bucks in my pocket.

I ended up just keeping most everything I brought in as I saw the trade-in value come up on the screen when each item was scanned: 75 cents, 15, cents, 10 cents, 5 cents, 1 cent. How could a DVD that cost $15 have a trade-in value of just a penny? The stores didn’t even want some of my movies, rejecting them out right.

And then I remembered this always happens. I build myself up with dreams of easy money from trading in my unwanted things. Instead I walk out feeling cheaper than ever, the collectibles I valued so much now deemed worthless. Continue reading