MUSIC: CAN GARTH SAVE COUNTRY?

THE BROOKS BROTHER'S NEW CD IS AN INSTANT HIT, BUT FOR WIDER SUCCESS NASHVILLE IS LOOKING TO ITS WOMEN

They lined up outside stores all over the nation in late November for Sevens, Garth Brooks' first CD in two years. Then they took it home and heard a swell set of 14 tunes from the sweetly pudge-faced Oklahoman who has sold 62 million albums--country music's one bona fide superstar. Sevens sold about 800,000 copies the first week, and it's not just his bosses at Capitol Records who hope Brooks keeps moving the product. Country needs a hit. Country needs...something. Like a lonesome cowpoke in some nasal old lament, it feels the redneck blues, and don't ask it why.

Country is...

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