Monday Hero #8 – Brooks & Dunn

Good morning and happy Monday!  For the first Monday Hero of the new year, we’re throwing it back to a duo that is now almost thirty years in the making and responsible for two decades worth of chart-topping albums and number one hits.  Fronted by long-time industry legends Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn, powerhouse duo Brooks & Dunn is one of the best-selling country groups of all-time and sure thing to get your through this week ahead.

Originating in Louisiana and Texas, respectively, Brooks and Dunn each made their separate journeys to Nashville in the 1980s to begin a career in writing country songs.  After making various friends and connections in the industry, they each scored some studio time to begin recording their original music.  Brooks, who even released his self-titled album Kix Brooks in 1989, was slightly more established in the Nashville scene by the time the duo paired up together later that year, but they quickly became the perfect collaboration.

Their first album together, 1991’s Brand New Man, ended up going 9x platinum in the US and Canada combined, and ended up at #3 on the country album charts and #10 on the all-album charts. Featuring all-star tracks such as title track “Brand New Man” and the radio hit “Neon Moon”, all five of the album’s singles placed in the Top 10, and five out of six of them rose up to #1 on the country charts.  After generating five number-one singles from their first album alone, Brooks & Dunn established themselves as one of the biggest country acts of the ‘90s, and continued that success all the way through the late 2000s, when they announced they’d be splitting up to pursue solo careers.

To this day, Kix and Ronnie are writing and recording new music.  As recently as 2016, Ronnie Dunn released the single “Damn Drunk” from his Tattooed Heart album, a song which featured Kix on guitar and background vocals and received significant radio play.  Although few and far between, the duo of Brooks & Dunn still performs occasionally at country festivals throughout the US as well as multiple times a year at their Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace residency, which also features longtime friend Reba McEntire.  If you haven’t had the chance to catch these two live in the act, put it on your 2018 bucket list — their collaboration in concert is something you definitely don’t want to miss.

Listen to Brooks & Dunn on Spotify by clicking here, and check out the R&B playlist for B&D by clicking here!  (And don’t forget to check out the rest of our #MondayHeroes right here!)

Let’s take a look at the R&B #FeaturedFour for Brooks & Dunn!

  1. My Maria” (1996) – One of the lead singles off of Brooks & Dunn’s Borderline record, this track was a re-recording of the original 1973 version, released by B.W. Stevenson.  With Ronnie Dunn’s yodeling vocals providing the well-known leading voice track, Kix’s background baritone perfectly outlines the chorus, turning this into one of the ultimate country karaoke jams.  On top of that, the driving percussion section throughout the recording is representative of the signature B&D “horseback rhythm”, something that the duo would come to perfect throughout their career.
  2. Play Something Country” (2005) – Coming from their ninth and penultimate studio album, this track sidelines the softer, more sentimental side of Brooks & Dunn and reminds us of their party-rocking power.  With a funky, honkytonk style guitar lick intro leading into a verse highlighted by Ronnie’s vocals over a steady kickdrum, this song is a country bar staple.  If you’re a George Strait junkie, try Brooks & Dunn, now that’s some good country.
  3. Red Dirt Road” (2003) – After already establishing their superstardom by the mid-2000s, the country duo never slowed or stopped until their split in 2010.  Over their twenty year career, they continuously released an album every few years, and some of their biggest hits even came from their last few studio records.  “Red Dirt Road” highlights the same electric rodeo guitar mixed with horseback rhythm sound that became famously associated with Brooks & Dunn.  When it comes to young love, growing up, and then remembering the good times this song is the ultimate anthem.  Listen up and party down.
    * Dedicated to Mr. Drew Thompson (April 29, 1957 — January 12, 2018)
  4. Cowgirls Don’t Cry (feat. Reba McEntire)” (2008) – Comprising the ultimate trio, the combination of B&D along with their good friend Queen of Country Reba McEntire makes this remake even better than the original version sans Reba.  Right as the last verse hits, Reba’s world-famous vocals bring the poignant nature of this song right to front of mind.  Telling the story of a girl’s father teaching her to ride ponyback from a young age and then her continuing the tradition throughout life, this song is all about the circle of life and enjoying one’s true passions.  You’ll feel happy, sad, and truly invigorated when you hear this inspiring Brooks & Dunn track.

Wanna see what B&D are up to in the near future?  Check out and follow their sites below:

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See you Friday for an all new #FridayFind!

-R&B NYC

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