Garth Brooks | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
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Garth Brooks

Retired country star garth brooks donated a collection of mementos to the American History museum, including his trademark cowboy hat, an acoustic guitar, a gold record and a handwritten lyric sheet.

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How does it feel to be in a museum with legends like Patsy Cline and Duke Ellington?
It's funny being the person that's in here because never ever do you measure up to the people that already are. My dad always told me "time is a friend to all things good." So all I can hope is that time turns these things into something as cool [as those] that are already here.

One of the items you donated is a repaired guitar that you smashed in 1991. You're a country singer, so why do you perform like a rock star?
When I talk to the band before we perform, I tell them to always keep it entertaining. Don't feel bad if you try something and it doesn't work out. It's just doing things that people hopefully remember that stick you in a place and time in their mind. When you talk about my career, when they show a highlight reel, they're never going to show it without me smashing that guitar.

You are the top-selling solo artist in U.S. history. Why do you think Americans appreciate your music?
Before you were born, there was [Merle] Haggard and [George] Jones, the guys I was raised on. They sang about a blue-collar lifestyle and digging yourself out. Men and women today are thinking that way. Our [music] deals with spousal abuse, acceptance of people for whom they love, freedom of speech, these kinds of things.

Why were lyrics to "Beaches of Cheyenne" part of this donation?
I write lyrics on everything: pieces of napkins, on walls, anything that I can. So this might be the only one with the full lyrics all on one piece of paper.

What are you working on now?
I'm getting ready to go back to doing what I did when I retired—and that is screenplay writing. It's what I love to do.

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