Brooks & Dunn

  • Country music songwriters and musicians Kix Brooks (vocals, guitar, harmonica) and Ronnie Dunn (lead vocals, guitar), founded in 1990 from Nashville Tennessee.
  • Both artists were solo recording artists before uniting. Brooks barely charted 2 singles on the Country chart during the 80s, and he released an album. Dunn also barely charted 2 singles during the 80s. Brooks ended up in Nashville in the early 80s. Dunn was based in Tulsa, and he won a songwriting contest in 1988 which got him a recording session in Nashville as a prize. His producer at the session was impressed enough to send the demo to a record label, and the label felt that Dunn might match up well with Brooks. Brooks and Dunn started writing and recording together, and their demos were good enough to earn a recording contract. Dunn provided the quiet, soulful singing, while Brooks was the high energy showman.
  • Their debut album, Brand New Man, was released in 1991. It was an instant smash – the album was certified 6x platinum, and their first 4 singles all reached #1 on the Country chart – Brand New Man, My Next Broken Heart, Neon Moon and Boot Scootin’ Boogie – the first country act ever to top the chart with their first 4 singles. Boot Scootin’ Boogie led to a resurgence in interest in line dancing that became popular in the early 90s.
  • The next 4 albums released by Brooks & Dunn from 1993 to 1998 all were certified multi-platinum, as they became the most popular duo in country music. Twenty singles from these albums charted in the top 5 of the Country chart, with half of them reaching #1. They even managed to scratch into the top 40 of the Hot 100 chart with a cover of Roger Miller’s 1966 song Husbands and Wives – Brooks & Dunn’s version made it to #36 on the Hot 100 (and of course, to #1 on the Country chart).
  • They had a commercial hiccup with their final album of the 90s (at least compared to their earlier work) – Tightrope only was certified Gold, and it was their first studio album without a Country #1 hit. But they were back to their mega-successful ways as they entered the 00s. They had 4 platinum albums from 2001 to 2005, with 12 more top 10 Country hits, half of them topping the chart. They also routinely crossed over to the Hot 100 – their 2 highest charting songs were Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You and Red Dirt Road, both reaching #25 on the Hot 100 (and again, #1 on the Country chart).
  • After their tenth studio album, Cowboy Town, was released in 2007, they toured to support the album, and then announced that they were splitting up. Their final performance was in September 2010. Both released solo albums – Dunn’s work was a bit more successful then Brooks’, though neither made much of a mark as solo artists. By late 2014, they were back together, performing with Reba McIntyre in a Las Vegas residency. In 2019, Reboot was released, an album of re-recordings of earlier singles with guest vocals from other country artists. It debuted at #1 on the Country Albums chart.
  • Brooks & Dunn have won dozens of awards from the Country Music industry. The Country Music Association chose them as Top Vocal Duo for every year from 1991 to 2006 except for one year (Montgomery Gentry won in 2000). They won Grammy awards for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group twice – Hard Workin’ Man in 1993 and My Maria in 1996. They were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2019.
  • Lots of country hits from this duo. Their songs are considered “neo-traditional” – they have a old school country sound (lots of steel guitar, banjo, harmony and occasional fiddle, and songs with the usual country themes) but they include plenty of modern country guitar, bass and drums. Ronnie Dunn is a great vocalist, and Kix Brooks provides excellent harmonies. Hard not to like Boot Scootin’ Boogie, but my fave is the more reflective Red Dirt Road. Give a listen to this feel good beauty.

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