Garth Brooks will kick off a world tour in July, release a new album in September and appear in a TV special for NBC, the country music singer confirmed yesterday to Daily Variety.

Brooks also will appear on “The Barbara Walters Special” on March 29. The special will lead in the Academy Awards broadcast on the East Coast and follow it on the West Coast. Denzel Washington and Sharon Stone will also be interviewed by Walters.

The Liberty Records artist said he also is co-writing a treatment for a TV special that would reunite him with Bud Schaetzel, the director behind last year’s highly successful NBC special, “This Is Garth Brooks.” The singer hopes to film a second special from Texas Stadium sometime this summer.

The singer is currently at work on his sixth album for the label. The untitled effort is slated for a September release, with just two of the disc’s songs completed so far. “It’s going real well,” said Brooks. “I’m hoping for September, but if it’s not ready, we’ll wait (until it is).”

Brooks will release “We Shall Be Free,” his first video since his “Thunder Rolls” video was banned by many outlets more than two years ago because of its violence. Brooks debuted the song during this year’s Super Bowl and the single will be released Friday, marking another departure for the country artist who once vowed not to release any future videos.

Brooks said the tour will differ from previous outings with multiple dates in some cities, depending on the demand, instead of the previous one-night stands. Ticket prices will again be kept below the industry average.

“I want the fans who may not have been able to see me last time, to catch my show this time around,” said Brooks, referring to the decision to spend more than one night in each locale.

Brooks was in Orlando lending support to labelmates Suzy Bogguss, Charlie Daniels and Billy Dean who showcased their wares during festivities at the 35th annual National Assn. of Record Merchandisers Monday night. Brooks did not perform, but greeted fans and signed autographs between the sets at Pleasure Island’s “Neon Armadillo” club.

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