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Is it tour time?

Last week, a cryptic message appeared on Garth Brooks' website, saying, "The wait is over ... 7/7."

Today, that message has been replaced with a communiqué, accompanied by lightning flashes and thunder rolls, about a news conference slated for noon ET Thursday. The news conference will be streamed live on the site, as will an interview with the singer.

Could the announcement outline plans for a much-anticipated world tour? If so, it would be Brooks' first one in 13 years. Since announcing a retirement in 2001 he said would last until the youngest of his daughters was ready for college, Brooks has occasionally performed, most notably during a series of solo concerts at the Wynn Las Vegas and multinight runs at arenas in Kansas City, Mo., Los Angeles and Nashville, but he hasn't done a full-on tour.

Last year, Brooks told ABC's Good Morning America, "We're going on a world tour in 2014."

It's also possible Brooks, the top-selling solo recording artist of all time, could reveal details of a new album. Last November, he released an eight-disc box set called Blame It All on My Roots that featured dozens of newly recorded country, pop and R&B covers, but he hasn't released an album of new original material since 2001's Scarecrow.

An early part of the rollout of Brooks' comeback hit a snag last week, when the city council in Dublin, Ireland, denied permits for two of five sold-out shows planned for Croke Park July 25-29. The permit denial has left the status of the other three shows in doubt, as Brooks has stated he wants to play all five concerts — or none of them.

"I can't say for definite that the three shows are definitely going to happen," promoter Peter Aiken told the Irish Independent. While government officials in Dublin and Brooks' promoter have been looking for alternate solutions, including the possibility of changing some of the scheduled dates, a spokesperson for Dublin's Chamber of Commerce has said the cancellation of all five concerts could mean a financial loss to Dublin of 50 million Euros, the equivalent of $68 million.

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