Allie Colleen Brooks would be perfectly content spending the rest of her life working with animals.
She really has no preference for vocational setting. It could be a zoo, kennel or rescue shelter. As long as it was filled with critters needing a healthy daily dose of love and affection, she would take the job. It's a trait she inherited from her mom.
“Animals are the coolest things on the planet. My dog, Eve, is going to be ring bearer at my wedding. She is a 5- or 6-year old mixed breed and my best friend,” Brooks says. “My mama does wildlife rehabilitation. She used to work at the Nashville Zoo. Sometimes they would have an overflow of white tiger cubs. She would bring them home and I would sleep with them all night.”
With an obvious Plan B to fall back on, Brooks is enjoying the unrestricted pursuit of her true passion — songwriting.
Never giving anything a half-hardhearted effort, Brooks is consumed with learning the craft. Immediately after graduating high school in Oklahoma, she enrolled in Belmont in Nashville.
The 21-year-old Brooks is scheduled to graduate in May with a degree in songwriting, and a broader knowledge of copyright law, music publishing and demo production.
“I have been watching, listening and learning as much as possible, just trying to be like a sponge and soak it all in,” Brooks said. “It has been such a blessing to meet so many great people and play so many outstanding venues.”
Brooks has worked shows with accomplished hit-maker Terry McBride, played a Ralph Stanley tribute at the Grand Ole Opry and a Dukes of Hazard tribute with John Schneider, and even judged an inspirational vocal contest with "Nashville Star" Season One winner Buddy Jewell.
She has established herself as a singer/songwriter with regular appearances at the Scoreboard Bar in Nashville, where she will play at 6 p.m. Saturday.
“I've been gigging down there for about 18 months,” Brooks says. “It's been a blast. The people are wonderful and the food is phenomenal. You can't beat that combination.”
Brooks will perform at Pookie's Bar & Grill in Marion at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 2 and 3.
Clayton Gribble of Marion will be the opening act on Feb. 2.
Eldorado's Travis Beasley will kick off the Feb. 3 show.
There is a $5 cover charge each night.
Brooks' performances can be viewed on various social media networks, like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. She promised her dad she would not sign a publishing deal or recording contract until after she graduated college, to avoid creating a conflict between educational goals and financial opportunities.
Her dad is Garth Brooks, the reigning Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year. He has won the prestigious award a record six times. Everything about his career is simply mind-boggling, from amazing record sales to incredible concert numbers.
“I love Garth music more than anybody else. People find it hard to believe, but growing up for me was pretty normal. He would play an odd mix of music, from James Taylor to Ralph Stanley. His favorite movie is 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' We watched it a thousand times, sometimes the same scenes over and over,” she says.
Garth Brooks famously hit pause at the height of his country music career, until he raised his three daughters. He started his “comeback” a few years ago in Las Vegas and went back into retirement after a marathon series of December shows in Nashville.
The youngest sibling, Allie sings harmony vocals on the road with Garth.
At one of her dad's last concerts on her birthday in November, her boyfriend got down on one knee in a little room under the main stage and proposed as Garth broke into “She's Every Woman.” The emotional scene was broadcast to the sellout crowd on the massive Jumbotron video screen. She accepted. They are getting married Oct. 6.
She is sure “The Dance” will be part of the playlist at the ceremony, but definitely not the traditional “first dance.”
“The magic of 'The Dance' is the majestic songwriting of Tony Arata. He is incredible,” she says. “I don't understand why so many people has this as the main song at their wedding. It's crazy. Listen to the words. There is a tragic, sad ending.”
Brooks is a very spiritual person and is not afraid to openly display her religion. Among her many tattoos is a series of numbers on each ankle, giving the latitude and longitude coordinates of Calvary, Isreal, where Jesus was crucified.
“Playing music is the greatest thing on earth, but God controls the big picture," she says. "I'm just trying to feel my way through. I pray for His guidance and if it is His will, I'm planning on playing my music for a long time.”
Brooks will be back in the area March 23 and 24, when she plays at Chevie's Lounge in Herrin.