Brooks & Dunn Recall Being Skeptical Of Becoming A Country Duo: “Just Never Should Have Worked”
Before Brooks & Dunn ever became one of the hottest country duo’s of the ‘90s, they were trying to build…
Brooks & Dunn; Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images
Before Brooks & Dunn ever became one of the hottest country duo’s of the ‘90s, they were trying to build successful careers of their own as solo acts. In a brand new interview, the two artists, known as Kix Brook and Ronnie Dunn, share the story of how they joined forces to become Brooks & Dunn.
During the discussion, they revealed that label executive Tim Dubois suggested they team up and try to work together. At the time, they say the idea to form a musical partnership seemed like an unlikely choice and somewhat of a shot in the dark.
“I think we were both pretty skeptical of the idea,” Brooks told Nick Hoffman while appearing on a Friday (May 28th) episode of Apple Music Country’s I Miss…90s Country Radio. “We were both grown men. [We] had kind of been around the Nashville block more than once. We both had kind of record deals that didn’t pan out to be much, and so when he suggested we write some songs together, we both know enough about how things go around that you got nothing to lose. So we said, okay.”
As it turns out, Dubois’ hunch to pair the two singer/songwriters together worked, as Brooks and Dunn’s first music session, which also included songwriter Don Cook, saw them writing not just one, but two of their first big hits – “Brand New Man,” and “My Next Broken Heart.”
“We screwed up that week and wrote what became our first two number one songs,” Brooks said. “Next thing we know we’re like, ‘This didn’t make any sense at all, just never should have worked.’ A duo, we still don’t sing harmonies very good.”
“We were kind of tricked by Tim DuBois. I don’t know if he even knew what he was up to when he introduced us. He probably did, but he made it seem very innocent,” ” Dunn also recalled. “He played some of Kix’s songs for me, and I liked them. And then the next thing we know, he’s asking us to write a few songs together.”
Although the idea to join forces as a duo didn’t make a lot of sense to them at first, Brooks & Dunn would go on score more hits with songs like the melodic “Neon Moon,” dance-worthy Asleep at the Wheel cover of “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” and B.W. Stevenson’s cover of “My Maria,” along with countless others. They also earned several awards, including all but one CMA Vocal Duo of the Year award between 1992-2006, before retiring for a brief moment in 2009 to produce music as solo artists.
Along with the interview, the episode on I Miss…90s Country Radio also took a look back at some of Brooks & Dunn’s biggest career highlights and studio albums like their 1991 debut album Brand New Man and their follow-up, Hard Workin’ Man. When reflecting on their musical journey, Brooks & Dunn agree, the most rewarding part of their 20-year legacy is they’ve noticed that people have still never forgotten the music.
“We talked about it recently,” Brooks noted. “With all the thousands of dollars worth of confetti that we blew in the air and stuff we blew up and inflatable girls and awful looking clothes and through that period when it was just how much nonsense can we create in one roll of the dice. To think now that people are talking about the music and none of that stuff. Occasionally a flame shirt comment will come up, but it was a lot worse than that on that end of things, and the music is what people are talking about. I think that’s the greatest compliment to both of us.”
“From day one, if there’s one thing you want to, years from now, look back and say, and we always said it, was that music would be timeless. The music would define it. And that’s all you can ask for,” Dunn shared. “If that music can hang around and do its job, then you made your mark.”
Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Country Now, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.