Country music superstar Garth Brooks joined Monday a growing cast of entertainers set to appear this week at President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The Presidential Inauguration Committee confirmed Brooks will perform Wednesday as part of the Inauguration Day swearing-in ceremony.
“The message they’re pushing is unity, and that’s right down my alley, man,” Brooks said Monday in a news conference. “If we’re gonna get anywhere, we’re gonna get there together.”
Biden becomes the 46th U.S. president at noon ET. Most events surrounding his swearing-in will be virtually focused, in part because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as well as security concerns following a pro-Trump mob breaching the Capitol earlier this month.
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Brooks – a Country Music Hall of Famer and seven-time CMA entertainer of the year recipient – joins an Inauguration Day lineup of performers including Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, Jon Bon Jovi, Ant Clemons and Tom Hanks.
“Celebrating America,” a 90-minute live special, airs Wednesday evening after the swearing-in ceremony. The special features remarks from Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, as well as a tribute to COVID-19 first responders.
Brooks performed in 2009 at President Barack Obama’s first inauguration. He was invited to perform at President Trump’s 2017 inauguration, but bowed out because of a conflict with tour scheduling.
He described the upcoming performance as “his chance to get to serve.” He spoke with the incoming first lady, Dr. Jill Biden, before making a decision Sunday night to join the lineup.
With the exception of Ronald Reagan, Brooks has performed for every U.S. president since Jimmy Carter, including Trump.
“This is not a political statement,” Brooks said. “This is a statement of unity.”
In 2009, Brooks delivered a rendition of his unifying 1992 song “We Shall Be Free.” Planning to perform solo, Brooks said he won’t reprise “Free,” but noted “(There are) plenty of songs of love and unity that you can chose from.”
Contributing: USA TODAY
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Inauguration Day: Garth Brooks to perform at Joe Biden’s swearing-in