Garth Brooks in Semi-Retirement

N A S H V I L L E, Tenn. Oct. 27, 2000 -- Citing family and career concerns, country music star Garth Brooks said Thursday he plans to retire after releasing and promoting one more album.

“I’m here to announce my retirement,” Brooks said at a news conference before a gala to celebrate 100 million album sales.

At the black-tie event, more than 2,000 guests who played some part in Brooks’ career gathered to pay tribute to Brooks. The gala at Gaylord Entertainment Center included friends, record executives and fellow artists.

“His charisma is undeniable,” said singer Martina McBride, who once sold T-shirts for Brooks on the road. “He — we all think — changed the face of country music.”

No Aging RockerBrooks said earlier at the news conference that he never saw his singing career as a lifelong proposition.

“I’ve done my career with the old saying, ‘Burn bright, burn fast,’” he said. “I wasn’t going to be somebody that we could come to really appreciate, like Billy Joel and James Taylor, and know that their stuff was timeless.”

Brooks, 38, said he didn’t want the new album, scheduled for release next summer, to be tagged a “farewell” project. At some point, he also may record a duet album with Trisha Yearwood and make a soundtrack album to accompany a film project from his production company in Los Angeles.

He said he wouldn’t consider touring again until his youngest daughter, Allie, 4, goes to college, but may play some shows. A series of network TV specials based on concerts may be filmed next summer to promote the new album.

Naptime ScreenplaysBut career concerns will be second fiddle to his children from now on, Brooks said. He and wife, Sandy, are considering a divorce, but haven’t made a final decision because of their three daughters.

“My children and I are together every day,” Brooks said. “And every night I tuck those children in, and I’m responsible for their safety. I feel good about that. I have asked my wife to be father and mother long enough. It’s time for me to accept my responsibilities, and accept the true rewards that come with being a father.”

He recently attended his 8-year-old daughter Taylor’s first soccer game, which brought him to tears. “I realized that in that one game, I had more fun than all 10 years of touring.”

Brooks hopes to write screenplays when not taking care of his children. He felt sure about the retirement decision because he had taken a year to think it over.

“If time changes it, I will beg your forgiveness and see how I’m accepted.”