By LARISSA COPELAND
On Wednesday, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced that Yukon native Garth Brooks has been chosen to receive the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
“Garth Brooks’ appeal as a performer, songwriter and humanitarian has brought many new fans into the world of country music,” Hayden said. “During his career, Brooks has set countless records, earned numerous awards and elevated country music into a national anthem of the American people.”
Adding to those accolades is another record: Brooks is the youngest person to receive this prize.
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.”
Other recipients include Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson and Emilio and Gloria Estefan.
The Gershwin Prize is named for George and Ira Gershwin, brothers whose voices became synonymous with the Jazz Age.
“An award is only as good as the names on it,” Brooks said. “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.”
Prior to selecting Brooks for the prize, Hayden consulted with leaders in the music and entertainment industries, along with curators from the library’s Music Division, American Folklife Center and Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division.
Brooks is slated to receive the prize at a tribute concert in Washington, D.C. in March.
A broadcast date is yet to be determined, but the program will air on PBS stations nationwide next spring and also be broadcast via the American Forces Network to U.S. Department of Defense locations worldwide.
More information about the Gershwin Award and the Library of Congress is available at LOC.gov.