The first time I felt the spirit was in the spring of ‘96. I was sitting on my front porch with Garth Brooks’ “Fresh Horses” album spinning in a Magnavox portable CD player I’d copped by pulling a Tom Sawyer on a neighborhood rich kid. Lounging in a chair with my feet up as that dumb Richie Rich was out back doing my chores, I felt things my 10-year-old mind and body weren’t prepared to feel. The Gospel of Garth is funny that way. Once you let it into your heart, there’s nothing left to do but renounce your old ways and be reborn as a disciple of the holiest man in country music.
At the time, I wasn’t a religious man. I was still just a religious boy. A boy who had never dared to believe until hearing those sweet tunes eminanting from that warm, portable compact disc player. Like any disciple worth their salt, I’ve devoted my life to spreading Garth’s perfectly pitched prayers to every nation and creature on earth. Today my ministry continues, albeit on a much grander stage. To have my writing appear under the The Beehive’s bright lights, simultaneously broadcasting to its massive audience across the globe, is nothing short of a lifelong dream come true. It’s yet another example of Garth working in mysterious ways.
While there is nothing greater than a spiritual awakening, they do not happen to those unwilling to open their hearts and grant Garth everlasting access to their soul. So, dear reader, today I ask you to follow me, your most spiritual and trusted friend, on a journey, a holy pilgrimage, toward “Fresh Horses” sanctification. Follow me and let your bosom burn with the flame of Garth’s almighty love. For it is he who proclaimed that life is not tried, it is merely survived, if you’re standing outside the fire. Let us walk into this fire together without the sorrow and shame that comes from getting burned. Garth will protect all those who believe.
1. The Old Stuff
Like a rodeo clown who pre-games by huffing too much gasoline, “Fresh Horses” comes out of the gate so hot it should be considered a fire hazard. Mere seconds into the opening number, pandemonium breaks out and we learn we’re listening to an apparent live recording in the heart of Detroit — a perfect location to get things rolling given the city’s history as the birthplace of Motown. This song is raucous and racy.
No rules young fools comin' from the old school
Takin' on the world alone
Next date can't wait tearin' up the interstate
Every place we played was home
Balls out no doubt this is what it's all about
Beggin' for a place to play
Swingin' with our low friends
Prayin' that it never ends
Wouldn't trade a single day
2. Cowboys and Angels
The Book of Genesis teaches us about Adam and Eve and the first seven days of earth’s creation. In the Book of Garth, we learn a higher truth: God forgets. And Adam and Eve had access to cowboy hats and lace. This is a huge revelation. But don’t worry, God noticed his mistake on the eighth day after finding a cowboy standing alone acting stubborn and proud, even reckless and loud. Seeing such a worthless piece of garbage standing before him wearing nothing but a 10-gallon hat, God knew he wouldn’t be able to last a single day left to his own devices. So God looked out all over creation, and listened as that cowboy prayed. God took passion and thunder, patience and wonder; then He sent down the best thing that God ever made.
Cowboys and angels leather and lace
Salt of the earth meets heavenly grace
Cowboys and angels tested and tried
It's a long way to heaven
And one hell of a ride
3. The Fever
I’m 90 percent sure the album’s third song is about bull riding, but it’s so insane and Garth sings it like such a maniac, I’m not willing to rule out the possibility that this thing is actually about shooting up heroin and the consequences that come from engaging in such an act. If I called my mom to ask how my dad was doing and she responded by saying, “He’s got a split finger wrap, and his rope’s pulled way too tight. He’s got a lunatic smile ‘cause he’s really drawn deep tonight. He’s got a fever,” I would call an ambulance and ask them to transport my father to the nearest rehab facility.
He's got a fever, fever, fever, fever
Grab a hold of anything and hold on tight
It hits you like the venom from a rattlesnake bite
We're all here 'cause he's not all there tonight
4. That Ol' Wind
This is the most relatable track on the album. The song is about the adventures of a responsible mother who always drops her fatherless 10-year-old son off at school on time. One day she hears a song on the radio by a country music star she happened to share a night with 10 years and nine months ago. That timeline is interesting given the age of her son. Then a D.J.’s voice comes on the radio to announce that the same country music star from 10 years and nine months ago would be playing a show in town that very night.
Spoiler Alert: YOU CAN’T HOLD BACK THE WIND.
The marquee misspelled his name
And not too many people came
But that didn't matter to them
They laughed and loved all through the night
And as they faced the morning light
They found themselves standing there again
And he asked her twice to come along
They said good-bye at the break of dawn
As his bus left out she cried
With him standing by her side
That ol' wind had once again found its way home
Someday he'll tell her about the money he hid
And someday she'll tell him that the boy is his kid
But for right now they're both in love
The only thing they're thinkin' of
Is that they're finally where their hearts have always been
This song is about a woman who believes life is like a windshield, not a rearview mirror. She was born to whatever a mother trucker is and somehow raised behind the wheel. I know you want to judge her for not being able to sit still given her upbringing, but Garth teaches us the highway is what’s to blame.
She was born to a mother trucker
Raised behind the wheel
So you can blame it on the highway
For the way she can't sit still
She says life is like a windshield
It ain't no rear view mirror
The only way to get where you're goin'
Is find that higher gear
And keep it
Life's gonna run you over if you don't get goin'
She said I wanna feel the earth move under me
Movin' with the motion of a melody
Oh I get the blues if the rhythm ain't got no soul
You gotta keep it
6. The Change
You know how almost everyone hates people who do good things? This song stands up to all those haters and encourages each of us to continue doing good things anyway. This song changed my 10-year-old life. Just days after hearing “The Change” for the first time, I did the most heroic thing I’ve ever done. I shot my brother in the nose with a BB gun while we were hauling hay on my family’s godforsaken farm in Palmyra, Utah.
Let me explain.
I was tired, hot, and angry that Mom had forgotten to wash out the plastic milk jug that was now filled with my drinking water. The few drops of leftover sour milk made the water taste like banana flavored Laffy Taffy spiked with urine. When you’re 10 years old in the middle of an itchy field with nothing but unliftable hay bales and tainted water, it’s hard to remember what life was like before your present predicament. I vaguely remembered what happiness felt like; I was confident I’d never know the feeling again. The days of carelessly popping Chewy Sprees while playing Goldeneye on my Nintendo 64 were surely over. I would die on that field. The only question was whether it would be due to physical exertion or the contaminated water.
In this delirious state of mind, I noticed my brother had stopped helping me lift stupid hay bales and was instead poking a water snake with a stick. Knowing death was near, I felt compelled to follow Garth’s words from “The Change” and do at least one good thing in my young life. It was the only chance I had to make it to heaven.
“Hey moron,” I said to my brother, who at the time was a moron. “You better not hurt that water snake. If you do, I’ll tell Dad.”
“Don’t be such a pansy,” said my moronic brother in an era where the names we called each other didn’t make much sense. “Dad’s too far away to hear you. Even if he could, why do you think he’d care about a water snake?”
Still reeling from his first-rate insult, I realized my brother was right. I’d never known my father to care all that much about the welfare of water snakes. I realized that if this profane creature’s life was going to be saved, I’d have to be the one doing the saving. I hobbled to our barn, grabbed the BB gun we used to ward off rodents, and then hobbled back to within a few yards of my brother and the snake he was still poking with a stick.
“Stop poking the snake, NOW,” I said to my brother as I slowly cocked the BB gun and pointed it in his direction.
He didn’t stop. Instead he got even more aggressive with the snake. “Go ahead and shoot,” he said. “You couldn’t hit me if you were standing right next to me.” Then he lifted his foot to deliver a fatal stomping blow to the water snake’s head. With Garth’s beautiful song playing in my head, I felt my body become nothing more than a vessel for everything pure and decent in this world. I aimed at my brother’s foot and fired.
The small BB struck my brother right in the nose, exactly where I was aiming. He fell back screaming, giving the water snake plenty of time to scurry to freedom. I had saved an innocent life. Sure, I got grounded for a month and my brother bullied me relentlessly for years, but Garth had warned me about the haters. I changed the world. I was a hero.
One hand reaches out
And pulls a lost soul from harm
While a thousand more go unspoken for
And they say what good have you done
By saving just this one?
It's like whispering a prayer in the fury of a storm
And I hear them saying
You'll never change things
And no matter what you do it's still the same thing
But it's not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world will know
That it will not change me
7. The Beaches of Cheyenne
Grab some tissues and a bucket of Tillamook Ice Cream™, we’ve got a real tear-jerker on our hands. This song is about a woman who told her bull-riding husband she didn’t give a damn if he ever came back from a rodeo in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Turns out that’s the last thing she ever said to him, and it turns out she didn’t really mean what she said. Sometimes it takes losing your husband in a bull riding accident to learn you should only ever say nice things to people. Some lessons are harder to learn than others, but no ice cream is better tasting or longer lasting than Tillamook Ice Cream™.
This post is brought to you by Tillamook™ — Dairy Done Right.
They say she just went crazy
Screamin' out his name
She ran out into the ocean
And to this day they claim
That if you go down by the water
You'll see her footprints in the sand
'Cause every night she walks the beaches of Cheyenne
8. To Make You Feel My Love
Rumor has it Bob Dylan wrote this song as a gift for his best friend Garth Brooks. Now I’m not the type of journalist who makes a habit of publishing rumors I started myself, but this one sounds like it’s 100 percent true. Of course the two most iconic singer-songwriters of all-time are best friends, and of course they write songs just so the other one will do a cover of it years later for additional profit and notoriety. Why do research when everything adds up perfectly on paper? Thanks for this beautiful collaboration, Bob and Garth. Your friendship and the song it spawned has touched the lives of millions.
Storms are raging on a rollin' sea
Down the highway of regret
The winds of change are blowing wild and free
But you ain't seen nothing like me yet
9. It’s Midnight Cinderella
I never believed the mainstream media’s version of the Cinderella story. Think about it. These are the same people who told us Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania would never vote for a 70-year-old tanning bed enthusiast who wears a red hat. Unlike Fake News CNN and The Failing New York Times, we publish the truth here at The Beehive. And the truth is Peter Peter the Pumpkin Eater stole Cinderella from her prince long after midnight passed. You won’t find that in any lamestream publication. The truth can only be found on Garth’s “Fresh Horses” album, here at The Beehive, and in the comments section of any InfoWars article.
It's midnight Cinderella time that you should know
There's gonna be some changes in the way this story goes
It's midnight Cinderella but don't you worry none
'Cause I'm Peter Peter the Pumpkin Eater
And the party's just begun
10. She's Every Woman
This song is confusing. I’ve never understood it, but I know that’s just because I’m not yet worthy enough to know its true meaning. It’s about a woman who is so New York and then L.A., and then every town along the way. She’s every place that you and I have never been. She’s somehow every woman that’s ever been known. Is that possible? Does that make any sense at all? Like most scripture, it just gets more confusing as it goes along.
She's sun and rain, she's fire and ice
A little crazy but it's nice
And when she gets mad, you best leave her alone
'Cause she'll rage just like a river
Then she'll beg you to forgive her
She's every woman that I've ever known
She's so New York and then L.A.
And every town along the way
She's every place that I've never been
She's making love on rainy nights
She's a stroll through Christmas lights
And she's everything I want to do again
It needs no explanation
'Cause it all makes perfect sense
For when it comes down to temptation
She's on both sides of the fence
Garth saved the best track for last. This song is about 40 young Irish soldiers who go to war against hundreds of enemies in a battle that will surely kill them all. Only a person made of stone couldn’t feel emotion oozing like Neosporin from this song. Ancestry.com has recently brought even more meaning and emotion to this Garth classic for me personally. Thanks to the magic they can conjure up using only my spit, I now know that I’m as Irish as James Joyce. And I now know it could have just as easily been me out on that field, as dead as any of those 40 young boys. Finding that out shook me to my core and turned me into a different person. I’m now a chain-smoking carpet salesman living in Phoenix, Arizona. Funny how being that close to death can make a man reevaluate his priorities and change everything about his life. Although I shouldn’t be surprised. Great things always find a way of happening to followers of the Gospel of Garth Brooks.
We are forty against hundreds
In someone else's bloody war
We know not why we’re fighting
Or what we're dying for
They will storm us in the morning
When the sunlight turns to sky
Death is waiting for its dance now
Fate has sentenced us to die
In closing, I’d just like to say that I know Garth Brooks is true. His words have changed my life and the lives of millions. Whether you have friends in low places, unanswered prayers, or happen to be a member of the American Honky-Tonk Bar Association, the Gospel of Garth will never lead you astray. As some of you know, we live in dark times. Garth’s ability to bring joy and light to the world is needed now more than ever. I hope he lives to be more than 100 years old, and then forever in our hearts. Personally, I’m glad I don’t know the way it all will end, or the way it all will go. Our lives may be better left to chance. Sure, it’d be nice to miss the pain, but I don’t want to miss the dance.
Also, welcome to The Beehive. It's only going to get weirder from here.
(Design: Josh Fowlke) (Editor: Rachel Swan)