HE'S BACK!

But For How Long?

Putting personal pain behind him, Garth Brooks serves up his biggest, brightest Christmas ever. But he says this is absolutely his last dance.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Garth Brooks will be dropping by your living room this season to celebrate his biggest Christmas ever - and his bag-o-gifts includes a hot new album, televised concerts, a holiday TV movie, splashy commercials and perhaps even more surprises.

But don't expect annual visits like the ones from jolly ol' St. Nick. Garth has declared that his new CD, Scarecrow, will be his last album of new songs, and that he'll never tour again. When the hubbub surrounding the new record subsides, Garth plans to slowly slip away and make good on the "retirement" he first announced in 1999, maybe trying his hand at something completely different and behind the scenes, like movie screenwriting.

But until then, he's finding new ways to keep his face in the public eye, including last month's trio of consecutive TV concerts on CBS. Fans had not seen Garth in a televised concert since the historic Central Park show from New York City in 1997.

"You're going to see us work in a different way than we've ever worked before," explains Garth. "We're going to try and get to people in their living rooms. We'll be touring in that way."

Television will be his vehicle of choice. This month, Garth will be heard - though not seen - in the cable-TV movie Call Me Claus, starring Whoopi Goldberg. He wrote several songs for the movie's soundtrack, including the title cut, which he performs.

Garth certainly grabs the spotlight, though, in a series of snappy, picking-on-the-front-porch ads for Dr. Pepper - the first product he's ever endorsed. Other companies have come calling before, but Garth opted for this endorsement because, he says, "It's something I actually have in my house."

With a self-effacing smile, Garth adds, "If I had to choose three products to endorse that I use the most, they'd probably be Dr. Pepper, M&M's and Taco Bell."

It looks like Garth will have plenty of time to indulge his taste

Read the rest of Garth and what may lie in his future in the current Newsstand Issue.

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