Garth Brooks shocked a thrilled Belmont University crowd Friday night (Feb. 23) at its Homecoming 2018 celebration with his surprise appearance at the 6th annual Homecoming in the Round concert, an event hosted each year by songwriter/Belmont alum Gordon Kennedy. The concert recognizes decades of talented Belmont songwriters, and this year offered special recognition to the 10th anniversary of Belmont’s Curb College songwriting major.
The show opened with performances featuring several No. 1 hits from alumni Matt Dragstrem (’08), Sawyer (a duo comprised of 2017 graduates Kel Taylor and Emma Harvey), Justin Wilson (’07), Sarah Peacock (’05) and a trio performance from recent Grammy winner Dwan Hill (’08) along with Marcus Hill (’09) and Nate Dugger (’08).
Kennedy (’81) then took the stage and offered a tribute song to the late Billy Graham and a rendition of his 1997 Grammy-winning Song of the Year, “Change the World.” He then introduced his surprise special guest and long-time friend Brooks by telling stories of his generosity and servant spirit while Kennedy toured with him on the road.
Brooks took the stage with just a guitar and spent 90 minutes sharing stories of the music he grew up with and how it shaped who he became as a songwriter and musician. The proud parent of a Belmont student and the husband of a Belmont alumna, he then opened the floor to questions from members of the Belmont community in attendance. When asked how you know a song is finally finished, the superstar offered up this wisdom: “For me, if I didn’t have a deadline I’d never finish anything…Don’t be lazy. You are not writers, you are re-writers. Write it, then back up the truck and run over it. Keep doing that until it’s smooth as glass.”