Garth Brooks withdraws from Entertainer of the Year and Randy Travis releases a new tune | The Pick – Tennessean

"The Pick" is a weekly newsletter keeping you in the know about music and other events happening in Nashville.

Garth Brooks won’t compete for “Entertainer of the Year” at the CMA Awards this year. Brooks — a seven-time winner of the lauded country music honor, considered by many to be a top prize in the format — said Wednesday that “it’s time for somebody else to hold that award.” Here’s more on what led to his decision. Now, for the rest of this week’s music news out of Music City. 

A new Randy Travis tune

Country Music Hall of Fame inductee and neotraditional Nashville torchbearer Randy Travis released “Fool’s Love Affair” this week, his first single since a near-fatal stroke severely damaged his voice in 2013. An unearthed demo that Travis tracked around 1984, here’s the story behind how his beloved baritone returned to airwaves. 

Country Music Hall of Famer Randy Travis and his wife Mary talk about the release of his first new song -- an unearthed demo from the 1980s -- since suffering a stroke in 2013 in Nashville, Tenn. Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Ask before using 

As the 2020 election approaches, dozens of musicians urge campaign committees to ask permission before using music at political rallies. A letter delivered to Republican and Democratic leadership outlined risks included with aligning an artists’ music to certain political beliefs without prior consent, saying “… it undermines the campaign process, confuses the voting public, and ultimately distorts elections.” Penned by the Artists Rights Alliance, Nashville songwriters to sign the letter include Jason Isbell, Sheryl Crow and Mary Gauthier. 

Bonus interview: In a second helping of new music this week, Christian songwriter Chris Tomlin tells The Tennessean how he ended up writing a new album with some of country music’s biggest stars.

Noise from Nashville 

Taylor Swift's "folklore" is her eighth studio album.

A ‘masterpiece’ 

Yes, we’ve reviewed Taylor Swift’s surprise album, ‘folkore.’ And, in a surprise to absolutely no one, it’s excellent. Read why one USA Today Network critic thinks it’s her “masterpiece” here

Spin this song

A confluence of top notch Kentucky songwriters playing a country classic? Yes, please. Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Ricky Skaggs and tenured songwriter Larry Cordle join fast-rising penman Tyler Childers for a cover of the former’s 1980s hit, “Highway 40 Blues,” released Wednesday via Spotify Sessions