Nostalgia will surely be in the air on March 4 when Garth Brooks tribute artist Dean Simmons performs the country singer’s tunes at The Coach House.
Simmons, who is based in Las Vegas, has never played at the San Juan Capistrano venue before and so is looking forward to his debut there.
The tribute singer makes a living imitating Brooks and goes by “The Garth Guy.” He secured the Coach House gig through his agent and has played other shows before in Southern California, a place he enjoys visiting for the weather and friendly residents.
“We’re really happy to be invited there,” Simmons said of the upcoming San Juan concert.
Not only does Simmons play all of Brooks’ biggest hits, he goes as far as looking and moving like the 1990s musical sensation. He aims to not only have similar clothes but also the same type of equipment—including using the same guitar and wireless headset microphone that Brooks did.
“I love to portray the ’90s version, with the bright clothes and all,” Simmons said.
“I try to present it as a fan of his and what he’s done for country music,” Simmons said.
As Simmons tells it, his unique vocation is one he found by happenstance. Simmons didn’t aim to imitate anybody.
Instead, he just grew up in a family of country singers. Simmons, too, took up the family pastime and—of course—sang what was on the radio at the time.
People told him he sounded like Brooks.
Then, in 1994, he ended up starting off as The Garth Guy when a concert organizer was looking for a Brooks tribute act.
“I fell backwards into it,” he said.
He’s now been The Garth Guy for almost 30 years.
Taking on the persona of Brooks has enabled Simmons to come out of his performance shell, since he was previously more of a self-described shy entertainer.
Performing Brooks songs in full regalia has enabled Simmons to travel the world and support his family through music, which he called a rare blessing. He regularly plays casinos or corporate events in Vegas.
Simmons also noted he’s been able to work with great entertainers.
“I play guitar because I enjoy it,” he said.
When asked what the appeal of Brooks is, Simmons said Brooks was the benchmark for country music in the 1990s—which, before then, was considered more a genre for older people.
“He put a little more of a rock edge into his music,” Simmons said. “He shook up the industry and brought a whole new generation into country music.”
“(Before Brooks), I was not cool for being into country music,” Simmons added.
Celebrating Brooks’ music is special for Simmons, who no longer has stage fright after nearly three decades of playing live. His attitude is more “let me at them” since he has so much experience and confidence going into shows.
As a further wholesome touch, Brooks also noted he performs with his wife on duets.
“We have a nice chemistry on stage,” he said.
What: “The Garth Guy” Dean Simmons
When: Saturday, March 4. Doors open at 6 p.m.; concert starts at 8 p.m.
Where: 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano
For tickets or more info: thecoachhouse.com. Tickets are $20.