GARTH BROOKS: Celebrating – and Saluting – a Friend
Garth Brooks helped thousands of people celebrate Valentine’s Day over the course of three nights (and four full-length shows) this weekend in North Charleston, South Carolina…but this stop on his World Tour With Trisha Yearwood also took on a bit of poignancy with the Thursday passing of friend and frequent songwriting partner Kim Williams.
“Great man, great friend,” is how Garth describes Williams, who died at the age of 68 last week (February 11). “This guy…he’s a sweet man, and he will live – he’ll live forever through his music and through his friends, like all of us that remember him.”
“Papa Loved Mama”…“Ain’t Goin’ Down (’Til the sun Comes Up)”… “It’s Midnight Cinderella”…“She’s Gonna Make It” – those are among the hits Garth and Kim created, often alongside friend Kent Blazy. There were also such fan favorites as “Cold Shoulder” and “New Way to Fly,” their first collaboration featured on Garth’s No Fences album.
“I was emailing him two days ago about a song that we were working on,” Garth shared prior to his Friday night concert, a performance that he publicly dedicated – via Facebook (click here) and in front of the arena audience – to Williams. Garth ended Friday’s show with one of Kim’s biggest compositions – “Three Wooden Crosses,” an award-winning hit for Randy Travis – that found the crowd singing along to cap the evening.
Williams, 68, was critically burned in a factory accident in the 1970s, an incident that left him physically scarred and required him to undergo dozens of reconstructive procedures. Garth shares a story to illustrate his friend’s sense of humor – “We were talking about a gentleman who will remain nameless…and he goes, ‘I’m better looking than that guy, and I’ve been on fire!’” Williams’ legacy also includes hits recorded by Reba McEntire, Kenny Chesney and many others. “That’s Kim Williams,” Garth says. “Just a sweet man.”