So, after a week and a half of thunder rolling and lightening strikes on his web site, Garth Brooks finally faced the music (reporters) and let the cat(s) out of the bag. In a press conference from Sony Music Nashville, which was webcast live on his website, Brooks' first revelation is that he has signed with Sony Music Nashville and that there will be new music on the shelves sometime in the next two months. Unlike his recent projects, which have been strictly available through WalMart, Garth stated that his new album will be available at "all retailers that will have me. Some may be mad because of the previous association with WalMart, but we hope that doesn't deter them."

Brooks went on to reveal that all of his catalog, previously unavailable digitally, will soon be available on-line through his website, at a "stupid price." He admits to being a little behind the times technically, but also stated that once he creates the music, he feels a responsibility to the music to "get the message out anyway possible."

Garth also announced an upcoming world tour, which he stated would hopefully carry the same power and impact of his past shows, though he admitted that he wasn't as young as he used to be. He talked about seeing The Band in concert recently, and though musically they were as tight as ever, they "just stood there." He immediately got his band together and reminded them that entertaining the crowd was more than just hitting the right notes, that the falls and the tumbles and the flying across the stage were what the fans remembered, not what notes they hit. He also said he was personally working with Ticketmaster to keep the ticket prices "affordable for everyone."

Finally, the elephant in the room was addressed. Garth told his side of the Dublin debacle, which started 6 months ago when the plans for all five shows were originally discussed with promoters and local officials in Dublin. Brooks went on to say at no time in the process of several stages of approvals was the subject of only being able to do three shows brought up. Only in the last ten days was the question of not being able to get all five shows approved brought up. According to Brooks, 400,000 tickets had been sold for the five shows, and that his decision to cancel the three remaining shows was a matter of fairness. He didn't want the 160,000 fans who would be left out in the cold to feel they had been treated differently than the 240,000 who would be getting a show. He also stated that negotiations are still ongoing regarding the Dublin situation, saying he was open to suggestions from the reporters present.

One of the final questions asked by reporters addressed what Garth felt he had lost during his time away from recording and touring. Brooks responded at first he felt he had "lost his purpose" (which included eating Taco Bell at 3 in the morning.) But in the time away, he felt he had found a "better" purpose, watching his daughters grow and being a part of their lives. He now feels he is fortunate to be able to return to his other purpose...and to Taco Bell at 3 in the morning.

So, with a puff of smoke and the deafening roll of thunder, Garth Brooks is back. The only question now is: how will today's country music accept an artist who, while the best selling country artist of all time, walked away 14 years ago? With the landscape of today's country music filled with "Bro-Country" and "Hic-Hop", is there room for one of its greatest friends in low places? Only time, radio airplay, and album sales will tell.