Garth Brooks’ ‘That’s What Cowboys Do’ Has a Secret Third Verse
Previously, Brooks had said that he wrote the "retro, George Strait-feeling" country song for country trio Midland, but he liked it too much to give away. Mitch Rossell and John Martin are Brooks' co-writers on the song, and lyrically, yes, it does tell parts of his story.
"Just a fact that we all pass through," Brooks shares when pressed to describe how. "I didn’t write ‘Alabama Clay,’ but I’ve lived that song. That’s the entertainer or the artist’s job. You gotta make that song you."
"She told me she was lonely and it would be alright / If happy-ever-after only meant one night," he sings to start the song "That's What Cowboys Do."
"So we saddled up in satin and rode off for the mornin' sun / Oh, but somewhere 'tween the neon and the mornin' skies / I saw that I was fallin' for those deep blue eyes / And I couldn't help but wonder, could this woman be the one?"
Find a piece of Brooks in those last lines. Wife Trisha Yearwood does have blue eyes, and he leans back for a big laugh when this is pointed out to him.
"If Miss Yearwood is not safe in how she thinks I feel about her, it’s 100 percent my fault, but she’s gotta be deaf and blind," Brooks says. "I just swoon all over her, and have forever. All you can do is all you can do, but I’ll spend every day convincing that woman not to leave me at the side of the road."
However, during "That's What Cowboys Do," leaving is exactly what the cowboy does. This is where his story seems to deviate from his real-life love story. The chorus goes:
"But a cowboy's always got somewhere to go / Another song to sing, another day to save, another rodeo / They're always leavin' town, chasin' sunsets down / It ain't nothin' new / Yeah, they're just passin' through / That's what cowboys do."
“I’m gonna go on record and say it might be the most country thing we’ve put out since ‘Much Too Young to Feel This Damn Old.’ So I’m surprised by the response it’s getting. I really am," Brooks tells Taste of Country.
The recorded version — and thus, the version you'll hear on the radio — ends with the leaving, but prior to his Nashville tour stop, Brooks said that he'd just revealed a special live version with a third verse that "kind of explains and takes it to the next level. Or the last level.” He debuted it one week prior, on July 23 in Cheyenne, Wyo. He'd planned to play it for his Nashville fans, too, but the show was ultimately rained out.
After his two remaining August live concert dates, Brooks says he's going to reevaluate the remainder of his stadium tour plans, since there has been a surge in COVID-19 cases. That means fans in Kansas City, Mo., (Aug. 7) and Lincoln, Neb., (Aug. 14) may join fans in Cheyenne in an exclusive club of witnesses to this mysterious third verse.
Should anyone want to break the rules and share a clip of that final verse, the internet would thank you.