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In the Life of Chris Gaines

In the Life of Chris Gaines

4.7 8
by Garth Brooks
It would have been a cinch for Garth Brooks to cut another guaranteed multi-platinum country album and reap the rewards. CHRIS GAINES: GREATEST HITS isn't a country album. At the very least, Brooks's foray into the rock and R&B styles of the past three decades demands fans and detractors alike to question their deeply held perceptions of him. What it all means may not


It would have been a cinch for Garth Brooks to cut another guaranteed multi-platinum country album and reap the rewards. CHRIS GAINES: GREATEST HITS isn't a country album. At the very least, Brooks's foray into the rock and R&B styles of the past three decades demands fans and detractors alike to question their deeply held perceptions of him. What it all means may not be apparent for some time, but a tip of the Stetson to Garth nonetheless for having the brass cojones to challenge himself along the way. A collection of Don Was-produced fictional greatest hits performed by a fictional doomed rock star named Chris Gaines, whom Brooks will portray in an upcoming film titled "The Lamb," this is, as the company line has it, a "pre-soundtrack." So what's behind the music of "Gaines"? Overt echoes of the Beatles, the Wallflowers (particularly on "Unsigned Letter," with Brooks's breathy vocal and the [Jakob] Dylanesque wordplay), ELO, The Carpenters, Stevie Wonder, and on through to the Average White Band map his '70s and '80s pop sensibilities. The Garth we know surfaces only on a couple of occasions, those being a twangy, sensitive ballad, "It Don't Matter to the Sun," and a deep-in-the-silky-groove boudoir confessional, "Lost In You." Was's production is immaculate and imaginative (with all sorts of background commentary going on to add depth to the soundscape), and the album's content is nobly tenderhearted. Judging by his past, this Gaines fella might just have a future after all.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
When his popularity reached a plateau in the late '90s, Garth Brooks knew it was time to try something new, deciding to become somebody new: Chris Gaines, a brooding, leather-clad rock star. When Brooks' new persona and his album was revealed to the public, they were unforgiving - they didn't think that he was playing a role, they simply though he'd lost his mind. Granted, the story behind Chris Gaines -- both the invented biography and the reasons why Brooks decided to become Gaines -- is more interesting than the record itself. Instead of encapsulating mainstream pop from the mid-'80s through the end of the '90s, thereby sounding like a true "greatest hits," it's basically the state of adult pop at the close of the '90s. Essentially, the record is anchored in the acoustic balladry Babyface constructed for Eric Clapton's "Change the World," with little touches of Mellencamp rock, lite Prince funk, and Beatlesque pop-craft. While the tunes might not have much flair, they're all sturdy, whether it's the silky ballad "Lost in You," the self-conscious Beatles tribute "Maybe," the folky "It Don't Matter to the Sun," or the Wallflowers-styled "Unsigned Letter." Judged as Brooks' first pop album, it's pretty good, and if it had been released that way, it likely would have been embraced by a wide audience. As it stands, it's an album more fascinating for what it is than for the music itself.

Product Details

Release Date:

Related Subjects


  1. That's the Way I Remember It
  2. Lost in You
  3. Snow in July
  4. Driftin' Away
  5. Way of the Girl
  6. Unsigned Letter
  7. It Don't Matter to the Sun
  8. Right Now
  9. Main Street
  10. White Flag
  11. Digging for Gold
  12. Maybe
  13. My Love Tells Me So

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Garth Brooks   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar
Jack Jezzro   Bass
Matt Rollings   Keyboards
Phil Madeira   Organ,Hammond Organ
David Angell   Violin
Kenny Aronoff   Drums
Jeff Bailey   Trumpet
Eddie Bayers   Drums
Lenny Castro   Percussion
John Catchings   Cello
David Davidson   Violin
Connie Ellisor   Violin
Carl Gorodetzky   Violin
Barry Green   Trombone
Jim Grosjean   Viola
Mike Haynes   Trumpet
Mark Heimermann   Vocals
James "Hutch" Hutchinson   Bass
Rami Jaffee   Organ,Hammond Organ
Gordon Kennedy   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Wayne Kirkpatrick   Acoustic Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals,Clavinet
Anthony LaMarchina   Cello
Lee Larrison   Violin
Mike Lawler   Keyboards,Clavinet
Carl Marsh   Horn
Bob Mason   Cello
Blair Masters   Keyboards
Chris McDonald   Trombone
Chris McHugh   Percussion,Drums
Terry McMillan   Percussion
Nashville String Machine   Strings
Craig Nelson   Bass
Greg Phillinganes   Keyboards
Tommy Sims   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Keyboards,Vocals
Pamela Sixfin   Violin
Jimmie Lee Sloas   Bass
Liz Stewart   Bass
Crystal Taliefero   Background Vocals
Chris Teal   Violin
Alan Umstead   Violin
Catherine Umstead   Violin
Gary VanOsdale   Viola
Mary Kathryn Van Osdale   Violin
Kris Wilkinson   Viola
Reggie Young   Electric Guitar
Joann Cruthirds   Violin
Dan Needham   Drums
Gil Long   Tuba
Monisa Angell   Viola
Karen Winkelmann   Violin
Julie Tanner   Cello
Bruce Christensen   Viola
Cate Myer   Violin
Gerald Greer   Violin
Betty Small   Violin
Janet Askey   Violin
Margaret Mason   Cello
Jennifer Kummer   French Horn
Linda Patterson   French Horn
Denise Baker   Violin
Lynn Peithman   Cello
Beverly Drukker   Violin
Carolyn Bailey   Violin
Ferne Cassel   cast
Kelly Shane   Voices
Chris Harris   Vocals
Jocelyn Sprouse   Violin
Chris Farrell   Viola

Technical Credits

Phil Madeira   Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
Dave Anderson   Contributor
Steve Bishir   Engineer
Carlton "Santa" Davis   Producer
Wayne Kirkpatrick   drum programming
Carl Marsh   Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
George Massenburg   Engineer
Chris McHugh   drum programming
Rik Pekkonen   Engineer
Tommy Sims   drum programming
Don Was   Producer
Jerry Joyner   Artwork
Glenn Spinner   Engineer
J.B. Baird   Engineer
David Anderson   Contributor
Melissa Orndorff   Wardrobe Assistant

Customer Reviews

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In the Life of Chris Gaines 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I, like most people, was skeptical when I first heard about this new venture of Garths. However, I decided to buy the CD and I was amazed at what I heard. It is a great album. I can listen to every song and not get tired of them. It amazed me when I first heard it that it was Garth, but it is awesome. I love this CD.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this album! It has some wonderful and soulful hits! It's VERY romantic! You MUST BUY this CD!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have heard the critics slam this album and friends of mine praise this album, so it was time that I found out for myself. I certainly don't think that it is at the level of Garths country albums, but I did enjoy listening to the album. It doesn't have the power of some of his other works, but I think that that is why this is an enjoyable album... It, for being rock, is more understated for all the hype that surrounded it. Congrats to Garth for even trying this. I like the album and would recommend it to others
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really liked this cd. I must admit that I'm not a country fan, but I am a Garth Brooks fan. I really like his voice on this cd. My favorite song is Snow in July. I recommend people give a listen to it and they just might be surprised.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I know that Mr. Brooks has made his fortune as a Country artist and I will be unpopular by writing this, but I truly like this side of him. Creating another persona is fun and though I have heard Djs comment on the weirdness of it, I can understand why Garth created this character because of of his popularity as a Country singer. This character allows him to use no twang, something I prefer, and shows that Garth has talent in R&B/Rock/Pop that is so strong, that I hope this isn't his only effort. Yey...Garth! I love listening to you now!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a Garth fan from the U.K. I have to say that this album, was a bit of a suprise. But what a suprise, not only does it show Garth tremendous talents in different types of Music (R&B/Rock/Pop). It also shows that he isn't interested in just keeping his existing fan base happy, as this album will appeal to those who may not be country orientated. Rock on Garth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think the fact remains that Garth Brooks is an ubelievably talented musician, who took a chance to make a truely diverse album. It goes completely beyond what he normally sings, I myself adore this album and think it is well worth the money spent. It may not be up to his normal style, and maybe its not an album that has a chance at breaking any records. Music should not be about making a number one selling album, but about the music and the heart put into it. Garth proved this by making the Chris Gaines Cd, I for one thank him for always putting his heart and soul into his music.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I admit that when I first heard of this strange approach of cutting this CD, I thought Garth had either FLIPPED HIS LID or his ego needed to finally break into the pop charts. Being a big GB fan since the beer tent days at the Colorado State Fair, I have always liked his edgy style but I thought this had gone to far. Then I got the CD, WOW, GB strikes again. The music reminds me of younger and less conservative days. Mr. Brooks you are not only the best entertainer of our times but also a marketing genius.