Just when it seemed like lifetime achievement honors for the all-time top-selling solo artist couldn't get loftier, country music superstar Garth Brooks was announced as the next recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
Per the Associated Press, the 57-year-old Oklahoma native is the youngest recipient of the Gershwin prize. Brooks is the second country artist to receive the award since its 2007 inception. An even more obvious pop culture icon and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Willie Nelson, was honored in 2015.
The award, named for songwriting team George and Ira Gershwin, typically goes to pop acts. Previous recipients reflecting this trend include Emilio and Gloria Estefan, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Carole King, Billy Joel, Smokey Robinson, Tony Bennett and the songwriter duo Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
While the name Gershwin may make some think of classical music, each honoree to date reflects the brothers' pop sensibilities.
Brooks will be honored with a concert in Washington, D.C. in March for his record-breaking album sales, his brand of high energy stage theatrics and his role in putting Nashville back on the crossover map with emotional country music ballads ("The Dance") and rocking classics ("Friends in Low Places," "The Thunder Rolls").
Brooks will officially receive the award at an all-star tribute concert in Washington D.C. in March 2020. The event will air later in the spring on PBS stations.