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The Music

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The Music: What Its All About

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 Brand New Man
(August 13, 1991)

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  1. Brand New Man

  2. My Next Broken Heart

  3. Cool Drink of Water

  4. Cheating on the Blues

  5. Neon Moon

  6. Lost and Found

  7. I've Got a Lot to Learn

  8. Boot Scootin' Boogie

  9. I'm No Good

  10. Still in Love with You

One of country music's best-selling acts of the '90s, Brooks & Dunn came out blazing with their debut. Still ranks as their strongest collection, it's the place for any new fan to start. Throughout, Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn come across as rambunctiously macho yet willing to settle down--should the right woman come along. "My Next Broken Heart" encapsulates the rough-and-tumble male archetype who audaciously begins seeking his next lover before the old embers have cooled. But, on "Brand New Man," they sound genuine while promising that they can be unselfish and responsible. The album also features "Boot Scootin' Boogie," which nearly single-handedly launched the line-dance craze. --Michael McCall

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 Waitin' on Sundown
(September 27, 1994)

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  1. Little Miss Honky Tonk

  2. She's Not The Cheatin' Kind

  3. Silver and Gold

  4. I'll Never Forgive My Heart

  5. You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone

  6. My Kind of Crazy

  7. Whiskey Under the Bridge

  8. If That's The Way You Want It

  9. She's The Kind of Trouble

  10. Few Good Rides Away

With the possible exception of Billy Ray Cyrus' "Achy Breaky Heart," Brooks & Dunn's 1992 mega-hit, "Boot Scootin' Boogie," did more to establish a big country audience for dance numbers than any other song. Today country fans often seem divided between an older crowd that likes to sit in its seats and listen to a heartbreaking ballad and a younger crowd that prefers to jump out of its seats and scoot their boots across the dance floor. Brooks & Dunn may be pioneers of the country-dance movement, but they refuse to take sides in this debate. Waitin' on Sundown is diplomatically divided between uptempo rabble-rousers, kicked along by a loud snare drum, and slow, sentimental confessions, underscored by a pedal steel guitar. As a result, the popular twosome reflects the balance in contemporary mainstream country as well as anyone. --Geoffrey Himes

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The Greatest Hits Collection
(September 16, 1997)

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  1. My Maria

  2. Honky Tonk Truth

  3. You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone

  4. Boot Scootin' Boogie

  5. He's Got You

  6. Hard Workin' Man

  7. That Ain't No Way To Go

  8. Rock My World (Little Country Girl)

  9. Neon Moon

  10. Lost and Found

  11. She's Not The Cheatin' Kind

  12. Brand New Man

  13. Days of Thunder

  14. We'll Burn That Bridge

  15. She Used To Be Mine

  16. Mama Don't Get Dressed Up For Nothing

  17. My Next Broken Heart

  18. Whiskey Under The Bridge

  19. Little Miss Honky Tonk

Is there a more dependable hit-making duo in music than Brooks & Dunn? Not likely. Since their debut album in 1991, Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn--two middling solo artists who turned out to be dynamite once paired together by a savvy record executive--have charted consistently with songs of various tempos and temperaments. There's smooth pop (a cover of the '70s rock hit "My Maria"), hard-charging honky-tonk ("Hard Workin' Man"), thoughtful ballads ("She Used to Be Mine"), and the line-dancing craze's very own Rosetta stone ("Boot Scootin' Boogie"). The Greatest Hits Collection gathers 16 of the duo's best-known songs, plus three new tracks, "Honky Tonk Truth," "He's Got You," and "Days of Thunder." --Daniel Durchholz

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Tight Rope
(September 21, 1999)

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  1. Goin' Under Gettin' Over You

  2. Missing You

  3. Temptation #9

  4. Hurt Train

  5. Can't Stop My Heart

  6. Too Far This Time

  7. You'll Always Be Loved By Me

  8. Love You More

  9. Beer Thirty

  10. Don't Look Back Now

  11. All Out Of Love

  12. The Trouble With Angels

  13. Texas And Norma Jean

This album was definately a change of pace from previous albums, but it is a stepping stone towards what Brooks & Dunn accomplished on "Steers & Stripes" and "Red Dirt Road". Its true that none of the songs were co-written by the duo, but they each bring some unique material to the table and they are both amazing song writers. Ronnie's voice is flawless as always, but Kix also steps it up on this album and I think that his songs are a nice contrast to Ronnie's. If given more opportunities I think some of Kix's songs could shine as singles, but he is willing to let Ronnie sing on songs that have a good chance of being hits.

Anyone out there who has liked Brooks & Dunn will enjoy this album. Ignore the critics and make up your own minds as to what is a good record and what isn't. If you don't own this album you need to buy it. ~ Jeanette Briggs

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It Won't Be Christmas Without You
(October 8, 2002)

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  1. Winter Wonderland

  2. Hangin' Round the Mistletoe

  3. It Won't Be Christmas Without You

  4. Rockin' Little Christmas

  5. Blue Christmas

  6. Santa's Coming Over to Your House

  7. The Christmas Song

  8. Santa Claus is Coming to Town

  9. Who Says There Ain't No Santa

  10. I'll Be Home for Christmas

  11. White Christmas

Brooks & Dunn bring the same blend of honky-tonk and pop ballads to their first holiday offering that they've brought to the country charts for more than a decade, adding a nice bluesy twang to classics like "Winter Wonderland" and "Blue Christmas." Some of this sounds like it could be straight out of Buck Owens's place in Bakersfield, while other spots are reminiscent of Glen Campbell. Which is another way of saying that the instrumentation is nearly perfect on all 11 tracks. Although there are secular standards throughout, almost half the CD comprises obscurities and originals (including the title track) that mostly hold up alongside "The Christmas Song" and other well-known favorites. "Rockin' Little Christmas" does exactly what its title suggests, while the adorable "Who Says There Ain't No Santa Claus," cowritten by Brooks, deserves to become a country holiday standard. --Bill Holdship

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Greatest Hits II
(October 19, 2004)

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  1. That's What It's All About (NEW)

  2. How Long Gone 

  3. Ain't Nothing 'Bout You 

  4. The Long Goodbye 

  5. My Heart Is Lost To You 

  6. I Can't Get Over You

  7. Red Dirt Road 

  8. Husbands and Wives 

  9. That's What She Gets

  10. Can't Take The Honky Tonk Out  Of The Girl

  11. It's Getting Better All The Time (NEW) 

  12. Only in America 

  13. A Man This Lonely

  14. Independent Trucker (NEW)

  15. I'll Never Forgive My Heart

  16. If You See Him (If You See Her)

  17. South of Santa Fe 

  18. Red Dirt Road (LIVE)

  19. My Maria (LIVE)

  20. Only in America (LIVE)

 

 Hard Workin' Man
(February 23, 1993)

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  1. Hard Workin' Man

  2. We'll Burn That Bridge

  3. Mexican Minutes

  4. Heartbroke Out of My Mind

  5. She Used to Be Mine

  6. Rock My World (Little Country Girl)

  7. That Ain't No Way to Go

  8. Texas Women (Don't Stay Lonely Long)

  9. Our Time is Coming

  10. I Can't Put Out This Fire

  11. Boot Scootin' Boogie [Club Mix]

 
After such an incredible debut album, you would think that there was nowhere but down for this Country duo to head. Instead, they defy gravity and even top their first album with the release of "Hard Workin' Man". They worked hard on this release, and they come back with the same great harmonies, the great Country sound, and with a noticeable increase in their confidence.

Simply the best tune on this disc is "Mexican Minutes", a ballad of leaving the fast-paced life behind. Only these two guys could use the words "Chips and Salsa" and make it sound good. Kix Brooks gives the Messina tune fresh life. Put Ronnie Dunn's perfect Country voice into the forefront with "We'll Burn That Bridge" and the title track. His voice is full with just the right amount of twang and growl. The ballads are good on this release as well with "She Used to Be Mine" and "I Can't Put Out This Fire". Throw in a couple of upbeat tunes like "Rock My World (Little Country Girl)" and a remix of "Boot Scootin' Boogie" and you have a great Country hit.

No sophomore jinx here. These guys are on top of their game, and came through with another blockbuster album. They might be a little rockin' for Country, but they still respect their roots and create great music. This is definitely a step up from their first album and a true gem.

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Borderline
(April 16, 1996)

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  1. My Maria

  2. A Man This Lonely

  3. Why Would I Say Goodbye

  4. Mama Don't Get Dressed Up For Nothing

  5. I Am That Man

  6. More Than A Margarita

  7. Redneck Rhythm & Blues

  8. My Love Will Follow You

  9. One Heartache at a Time

  10. Tequila Town

  11. White Line Casanova

What I like about Brooks & Dunn is they never pretend to be anything more than what they are--entertainers whose main goal in life is to come up with hits so catchy they'll grab your attention through the tinniest radio speaker ever stuck in a pickup. Unlike, say, Garth Brooks or James Michael Montgomery, Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn never pass themselves off as profound philosophers or social commentators. For this duo, lyrics are just an excuse to belt out a big, juicy chorus hook, usually over an equally sizable dance beat. It helps, of course, that both men are fine singers, but just as important is the fact that almost every song on "Borderline," their fourth album, contains a terrific refrain and almost nothing else that might get in the way. -- Geoffrey Himes

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If You See Her
(June 2, 1998)

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  1. How Long Gone

  2. I Can't Get Over You

  3. South of Santa Fe

  4. If You See Him/If You See Her

  5. Brand New Whiskey

  6. Born and Raised in Black and White

  7. Your Love Don't Take a Backseat To Nothin

  8. Husbands and Wives

  9. Way Gone

  10. When Love Dies

  11. You're My Angel

Brooks and Dunn are showing an even deeper side to their music--more emotion, more passion, and hard to believe, but even more energy. This wild roller-coaster ride pushes the boundaries of what has become acceptable in country music, blending simple Southern rock with country's lyrical themes, and is held together by Kix's crunching guitar. The duo runs through their familiar mix of upbeat boogies ("How Long Gone") and emotional ballads ("I Can't Get Over You") plus their Reba-shared hit "If You See Him/If You See Her." Though their changes are subtle, they are noticeable. --Paula Ghergia

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Steers & Stripes
(April 17, 2001)

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  1. Only In America

  2. The Last Thing I Do

  3. The Long Goodbye

  4. Go West

  5. My Heart is Lost to You

  6. Good Girls Go To Heaven

  7. When She's Gone, She's Gone

  8. Ain't Nothing 'Bout You

  9. Unloved

  10. Deny, Deny, Deny

  11. Lucky Me, Lonely You

  12. I Fall

  13. Every River

  14. See Jane Dance

While If You See Her and Tight Rope, their previous two albums, were Brooks & Dunn's strongest and most mature, their sales didn't earn either album the usual Gold and Platinum awards. Coincidentally, both CDs deemphasized the usual line-dance fodder, generic rockers, and flaccid ballads. On 2001's Steers & Stripes, the duo stays that course--to a point. "Ain't Nothin' 'Bout You" succeeds as the radio-friendly hit it was crafted to be but pales alongside the masterfully sung "Every River" and the classy ballads "The Long Goodbye" and "My Heart Is Lost to You." Smart Tejano arrangements spice up both the latter number and the witty "Deny, Deny, Deny." "Lucky Me, Lonely You" explores the time-honored shuffle turf of Ray Price and Buck Owens. Just as prominent, however, are Brooks & Dunn's sorties into bad old habits. "Only in America" overflows with tired clichés. The ballads "When She's Gone, She's Gone" and "Unloved" stumble over their own pretense. The witless dance ditties "Good Girls Go to Heaven" and "See Jane Dance" seem dated alongside the evocative, muscular David Lee Murphy rocker "The Last Thing I Do." The strengths here are potent indeed. Unfortunately, so are the weaknesses. --Rich Kienzle

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Red Dirt Road
(July 15, 2003)

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  1. You Can't Take the Honky Tonk Out of the Girl

  2. Caroline

  3. When We Were Kings

  4. That's What She Gets for Loving Me

  5. Red Dirt Road

  6. Feels Good Don't It

  7. I Used to Know This Song By Heart

  8. Believer

  9. Memory Town

  10. She Was Born to Run

  11. Till My Dyin' Day

  12. My Baby's Everything I Love

  13. Good Day to Be Me

  14. Good Cowboy

  15. Holy War

Red Dirt Road, a collection of coming-of-age songs in which country's most successful duo comes clean about who they are and what forged their turbo-tonk sound. The title song is a spectacular and poignant slice of backwoods Southern milieu that melds the push of the gospel with the pull of desire--which, for a '60s teenager, meant girls, cars, and the beer-laced taste of freedom. Both men know a little bit about those subjects (don't miss Dunn's hidden track, "Holy War," which skewers TV preachers), as well as the thrill of Exile on Main Street-era Rolling Stones, a sound that permeates at least three songs here, including the randy "You Can't Take the Honky Tonk Out of the Girl." Bluegrass also gets a strong nod on the exquisite "Caroline," as does the Tulsa-bred, Leon Russell-fueled music that personally schooled Dunn in the '70s, particularly on "I Used to Know This Song By Heart," a tour de force of sharp Pentecostal vocals punctuated by the searing guitar work of Kenny Greenburg. Everything about this album moves the duo up a level, even Kix's singing on "When We Were Kings," a true-life remembrance of the Vietnam years. A few songs predictably pad things out, but on the whole Red Dirt Road is both surprisingly affecting and monstrously good. --Alanna Nash

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