"The cool thing about social media is getting to share the life you've given me right back with you," Garth Brooks told hundreds of thousands of fans Monday night via a Facebook Live chat.
The country superstar, who joined Facebook, Twitter and Instagram less than two years ago, is making up for lost time in a big way. Last night's live webcast served as a teaser for his upcoming social-media video series, Inside Studio G: A Monday Night Conversation, which will give fans an unprecedented look at the making of his next album.
"We're actually going to let the cameras roll for the first time ever on the recording process," Brooks explained of the weekly series. "I'm hoping the song that you will see us recording makes the record, because then you'll see it take its first breath, and it's pretty sweet to see when something like that comes to life."
But after that "first breath," don't expect to see the world premiere of a new Garth Brooks song. After Monday's chat, during a small gathering with journalists and Nashville music executives, the singer-songwriter went on to explain that he still very much values the surprise element of a new album. That's why you won't see him testing new music on his massive world tour this year, nor will you see performances of full songs on Inside Studio G.
"The greatest lab for new music in the Nineties was the tour," he said. "I'd call up [producer] Allen Reynolds and [manager] Bob Doyle and say, 'There's this song that the crowds are just eating up, it's crazy.' But you can't do that today. You can't try anything out. So you have to do it in little pieces, little secret labs. It's the people who determine whether something is a hit or not, and it's really nice if you know that before you record it. So with [Inside Studio G] it'll just be pieces, parts."
In addition to song snippets, Brooks is likely to tell stories behind tracks he's planning for the as-yet-untitled project. He described one tear-jerking love song Monday night that was inspired by sideline conversations with soccer moms during his long career hiatus. ("I was the only guy there; I didn't have a job," he joked.) Brooks' eyes light up when he talks about saving that song's big reveal for when the actual album comes out.
"Truthfully, I don't think they want the spoil either," he says of his fans. "Like when we were kids, we used to have everyone over for a listening party for a new album, because we couldn't afford the album so one person would buy it. I think they want that special moment with someone they love sitting next to them."
Still, Inside Studio G will be its own listening party of sorts, as Brooks promises to keep a guitar handy during broadcasts, in case someone has a question that's better answered with a musical interlude. The show will air live from Nashville's Allentown Studios, which Brooks purchased in 2012 and renamed in honor of his longtime producer, Allen Reynolds. Decorated year-round with Christmas lights, the Music Row studio is where Brooks recorded every album in his catalog but the "Chris Gaines" project, and is also where the likes of Don Williams and Crystal Gayle recorded some of their biggest hits.
The show will be a two-way conversation, as Brooks will spend a good amount of time taking fan questions. He's also adamant about seeing those fans, so he's asking them to submit via video when possible.
"Building relationships with the people who allow you to be artists, it's still one-on-one," ruminates the biggest-selling solo artist in U.S. history. "Take every chance you can to look into somebody's face, talk to them and they'll go, 'This guy is a person.' It gives you a chance to meet new people, and I think that's what it's all about."
Inside Studio G: A Monday Night Conversation debuts July 18th at 7:00 p.m. ET on Brooks Facebook page. To submit a question for the series, post a video on Instagram with the hashtag #askgarth.