Garth Brooks announces his own SiriusXM channel, preps for Yankee stadium

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Garth Brooks Is Back On The Radio 24-7

One the eve of a headline-making concert booking at New York's Yankee Stadium, Garth Brooks has announced a new partnership with SiriusXM, putting him at the helm of his own 24-7 music station, The Garth Channel. Launching Sept. 8, The Garth Channel will feature not just music from the country superstar, but tunes from the artists that influenced him as well.

Brooks tells Billboard those influences aren't just the legends, but also younger stars who came along after Brooks and make what he calls "feel-good music." He cites as examples pop stars Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, as well as country stars Kenny Chesney and Joe Nichols. The channel's programming, he says, will also feature some up-and-coming singer-songwriters who have yet to land record deals, including Brooks' current tour mate Karyn Rochelle. As for his own material, Brooks says they'll be able to showcase not just his hits and the new music still in the pipeline, but also material from "the vault," like rarely heard live recordings from Brooks' past appearances on shows like Austin City Limits and VH1's Storytellers.

For the music-loving star, the new channel feels like a grown-up toy. "The potential is infinite... The channel is going to be growing as it goes -- I don't want to start out 110 percent. I want to start out focusing just on the music, finding out what the right balance of music is, and then start introducing other stuff, like the music that you won't hear anywhere else."

Radio veteran and former Big Machine Label Group promotion executive Mandy McCormack is expected to play a key role in programming the channel. She has worked directly for Brooks and wife Trisha Yearwood since early 2015.

Brooks will be curating and presenting much of the programming himself, a task made easier by equipment SiriusXM has installed in his home, as well as interviews being conducted by Sirius XM senior director of music programming Lou Simon during some of Brooks' tour stops. Brooks and Yearwood are currently at the halfway mark of a three-year tour, and Brooks expects to get even more hands-on with the channel once that tour finally wraps.

Meanwhile, Brooks is gearing up for his July 8 and 9 shows at Yankee Stadium, and can barely contain his excitement over the gigs, and the massive stage that will take over the outfield. Like his 1997 show in New York's Central Park that became an HBO special, these shows are also being filmed for a potential future broadcast.

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Garth Brooks through the years
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Garth Brooks through the years
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 17: ASCAP Award recipient, singer-songwriter Garth Brooks performs during the ASCAP Centennial Awards at The Waldorf Astoria on November 17, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 17: ASCAP Award recipient, singer-songwriter Garth Brooks (R) and wife, singer Trisha Yearwood attend the ASCAP Centennial Awards at The Waldorf Astoria on November 17, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/FilmMagic)
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 05: Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks attend the 48th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 5, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 07: Singer Garth Brooks enters the 'Good Morning America' taping at the ABC Times Square Studios on November 7, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/GC Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 05: Garth Brooks speaks onstage during the 48th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 5, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 05: Garth Brooks presents Luke Bryan with the award for Entertainer of the Year ontsage durring the 48th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 5, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 05: Garth Brooks presents during the 48th annual CMA awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 5, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Davis/WireImage)
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 05: Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks attend the 48th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 5, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 06: Recording artists Dustin Lynch (L) and Garth Brooks attend the 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 6, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/ACMA2014/Getty Images for ACM)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 19: Garth Brooks performs at Philips Arena on September 19, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by CatMax Photography/WireImage)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 19: Garth Brooks performs at Philips Arena on September 19, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 19: Garth Brooks attends a press conference at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite on September 19, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Chris McKay/Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 05: Garth Brooks performs on stage at Allstate Arena on September 5, 2014 in Rosemont, United States. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Redferns via Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 05: Garth Brooks performs on stage at Allstate Arena on September 5, 2014 in Rosemont, United States. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Redferns via Getty Images)
ROSEMONT, IL- SEPTEMBER 04: Garth Brooks talks to the media during his World Tour Press Conference on September 4, 2014 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 06: (L-R) Musicians Tim McGraw, George Strait and Garth Brooks attend the 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 6, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Rick Diamond/ACMA2014/Getty Images for ACM)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 06: Singer/songwriter Merle Haggard (R) accepts the ACM Crystal Milestone Award from (L-R) Recording artists Garth Brooks, Miranda Lambert and George Strait onstage during the 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 6, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 4610 -- Pictured: Musical guest Garth Brooks performs on February 6, 2014 -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - DECEMBER 9: Country music star Garth Brooks sits down with the hosts of THE TALK, Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 on the CBS Television Network. From left, Garth Brooks and Sharon Osbourne, shown. (Photo by Heather Wines/CBS via Getty Images)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - Garth Brooks announced his upcoming tour, on GOOD MORNING AMERICA, 12/9/13, airing on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images) GARTH BROOKS
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - NOVEMBER 27: Garth Brooks visits 'Extra' at Universal Studios Hollywood on November 27, 2013 in Universal City, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 4576 -- Pictured: (l-r) Country singer Garth Brooks during an interview with host Jay Leno on November 27, 2013 -- (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 06: (L-R) Recording artists Garth Brooks, Miranda Lambert and George Strait speak onstage during the 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 6, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 22: (Exclusive Coverage) Trisha Yearwood, Styx's Tommy Shaw, Jeanne Mason, and Garth Brooks attend Playin' Possum! The Final No Show Tribute To George Jones at Bridgestone Arena on November 22, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/NJ/Getty Images for Webster PR)
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 22: Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks perform during Playin' Possum! The Final No Show Tribute To George Jones - Show at Bridgestone Arena on November 22, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)
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Brooks, who has been rehearsing his band and crew hard for the shows -- most recently in an empty Las Vegas casino ballroom -- is trying to keep his emotions under control. "I just want to have fun, let it loose, and just get to do my thing," he says. "If I think the other way, I'll get too nervous and the show will be just totally the opposite of what I want it to be. I just want to be really relaxed, go out there and know that I'm among people that love the music, which makes them my family, and just have fun."

Brooks has become accustomed to great crowds on his tour. "Every night people come in after the show and say, 'I've never seen a crowd like that' and I go 'Thank God, I get to see that every night,'" he says. "They've just got the greatest attitudes. They come to sing and have fun, and that makes me feel more than good."

Back home in Nashville, Brooks and Yearwood recently completed their first-ever duets project, a Christmas album set for release this year that will feature a mix of holiday standards and new material, and tracks that range from "big band sounds" to "some very acoustic stuff." The album, he says, was recorded with "a ton of joy [and] a lot of laughing."

He is also halfway through recording a new solo studio album, which has been worked on at a slower pace while his longtime studio bassist, Mike Chapman, battled the cancer that took his life June 13. Brooks calls Chapman "the heart and soul of the studio group. We've kind of moved at a pace that aligned with that battle, so when he was feeling good we would record and when he wasn't, we wouldn't," he explains. "Now that chapter has closed. What a valiant warrior. We honor him, and then try and move on somehow without that sound. This back half [of the album] will be really interesting to see how it changes without him."

In related news, Brooks has signed with Nashville-based The GreenRoom to augment his publicity efforts. The GreenRoom staff will work closely with Brooks' team, including his longtime publicist Nancy Seltzer of Los Angeles-based firm Nancy Seltzer & Associates. The GreenRoom's other country star clients include Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts and many others.

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