One day before he kicks off his first US tour in 13 years, Garth Brooks returns with “People Loving People,” the first single from his forthcoming fall album.

The mid-tempo track, written by Busbee, Lee Thomas Miller, and Chris Wallin, couldn’t be further from bro-country. It is a timely reminder that the only thing we need to cure our ills is to simply love each other. At a time when the headlines are dominated by bad news coming out of Ferguson, Mo.; the Middle East and seemingly everywhere we turn, it’s a positive song about inclusiveness that also serves as a gentle commentary on what’s going on around us.  His voice sounds strong as ever and nicely gritty. He’ll show off his range on future songs, we’re sure, as well as come back with some party anthems. He's not coming to come out of the gate with his strongest stuff. This is a bold, courageous move.

“People Loving People” isn’t Brooks’ first socially conscious song: 1992’s “We Shall Be Free,” a tune that he sang at President Obama’s first inaugural concert on the Mall in D.C. in 2009,  is now one of his signature songs, even though it initially stalled at No. 13. It preaches tolerance for gay rights, racial harmony and an end to other issues that divide us.  In 1996, he released “The Change,” an emotional, stately ballad about being the change you want to see in the world. It peaked at No. 19.

Brooks’ last single worked to country radio was “More Than A Memory,” which came out in August 2007 and was featured on a box set. It debuted on the Country Singles chart at No. 1.  A duet with Trisha Yearwood, “The Call,” was released from his November 2013 box set, “Blame It All On My Roots,” but it wasn’t actively pushed to radio. Many Clear Channel stations are playing “People Loving People” on the hour today.

As of now, “People Loving People” isn’t available to stream on YouTube or to purchase, which means it won’t be eligible for Billboard’s Country Songs chart or the Billboard Hot 100-- although that may all change within the next few days. It will qualify for Billboard’s Country Airplay chart.  Hear it here for now.

What do you think?