updated 10/15/2009 AT 1:20 PM ET
•originally published 10/15/2009 AT 1:40 PM ET
Garth Brooks is officially back in the saddle, he announced Thursday morning.
After a nine-year hiatus in which he stepped out of the spotlight to spend more time with his three daughters, Brooks said he s ready to perform again.
“We’re going to take the retirement roof off over our head, and I already feel taller,” Brooks said in a press conference at Nashville s Grand Ole Opry.
The announcement was part one of a two-part media blitz to roll out his comeback plan. While he kept mum in Nashville on when and where he ll be taking the stage again, it s widely expected that this afternoon he ll hold another press conference in Las Vegas to announce an extended engagement at the Wynn Resort there.
Brooks told reporters that ending his retirement will enable him “to not have to worry about who I m disappointing or what rules I m sticking to.
The 47-year-old singer, who since stepping down in 2000 has done the occasional special appearance (including participating in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day concert in front of newly elected President Barack Obama and family the day before the Inauguration), told reporters that while he s eager to perform regularly again, he has no plans to tour yet.
“As for touring, if I can’t eat it, sleep it, breathe it, then it ain’t me,” said Brooks, who in 2007 became the top-selling solo artist in U.S. history, surpassing Elvis. What people are going to expect from us is 110 miles an hour tomorrow, and the truth is, if we ever do tour again, if we ever do make new music again, it s still going to be another five years.
Brooks, who is married to country star Trisha Yearwood and lives in Oklahoma, has long maintained that he wanted to wait to hit the road until all his daughters were grown. His youngest, Allie Colleen, is 13.