Commenting on the Gershwin Prize Brooks said, “An award is only as good as the names on it. First off, for any musician, the name Gershwin says it all. Add to Ira’s and George’s names the names of the past recipients, and you have an award of the highest honor. I am truly humbled.” Brooks has combined the sound of traditional country music with the performance style of arena rock legends of the 1970s, creating a unique artistic vision. The songs that he has written, as well as those he has chosen to record, have often moved beyond the traditional subject matter for country music, such as “We Shall Be Free,” which won a GLADD Media Award in 1993 for addressing homophobia, homelessness and racism.
Bestowed in recognition of the legendary songwriting team of George and Ira Gershwin, the Gershwin Prize recognizes a living musical artist’s lifetime achievement in promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of entertainment, information, inspiration and cultural understanding. Previous recipients are Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Tony Bennett, and Emilio and Gloria Estefan.
Garth Brooks: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song is a co-production of WETA Washington, D.C.; Bounce, a division of Concord Music Group; and the Library of Congress. Major funding for the broadcast is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and public television viewers. Additional funding is provided by The Ira and Leonore Gershwin Fund and The Leonore S. Gershwin Trust for the benefit of the Library of Congress Trust Fund Board, Michael Strunsky, Trustee; AARP, Buffy Cafritz and Marjorie Fisher Furman. Air transportation is provided by United Airlines.