Sunday, April 17, 2011

Kix & Brooks

(Reprinted from today's Times and News-Star)

Shreveport’s own “Kix & Brooks,” one of our favorite country music singers, songwriters and guitar pickers, was in Ruston this week doing three of the things he loves best: playing golf, seeing friends and telling stories.

For the past eight years, Brooks and NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw, a noteworthy one-two Shreveport punch, have hosted a golf tournament at Squire Creek in Choudrant to benefit their alma mater, Louisiana Tech. But this is the first time Brooks has shown up without a professional playing partner back in Nashville.

Brooks and Ronnie Dunn made “Brooks & Dunn” (I’ve always preferred “Kix & Brooks” because, well, Ronnie Dunn’s “not from here”) the best-selling duo in country music history. But for now, the two are pursuing separate careers.

“Me and ‘Slim’ are still the best of friends,” Brooks said. It’s just that after 20 years, both of them wanted to do things without having to run it by the other. In golf terms, they’re no longer playing a two-man scramble.

Both are still featured in updates on the Brooks & Dunn website. Dunn is already on a solo tour; he’ll be in the Riverdome at Bossier City’s Horseshoe Casino May 6.
Meanwhile, Kix is hosting “American Country Countdown,” is partner in a Tennessee vineyard and winery, and is still writing and will record again, “maybe even with Ronnie,” he said. You never know.

He’s also in the middle of filming his second movie. He had a small role in “Thriftstore Cowboy” and showed up in Choudrant last week looking rode hard and put up wet, on a break from a lead role as a lawman thrown in jail in “The Last Ride.”

“If I look a little scruffy,” he said, “it’s because I’ve been in prison the past five days. Compared to what I’m gonna be, I’m pretty now.”

He’s come a long way because once he hit the semi-big time, Kix found out quickly that there are times when the most challenging role to play is yourself. Kix apparently wasn’t very good at it; neither was Ronnie Dunn.

When he and his singing co-star had written and recorded their first two hits, “Brand New Man” and “Workin’ On My Next Broken Heart,” they found themselves in New Orleans, not-yet-famous and accidentally light-headed on a new hole-in-the-wall-bar discovery called Jello Shots. They also discovered a karaoke country music bar in, of all places, the French Quarter.

Hello, darlin’.

Kix asked their tour manager to walk in and find out if they had “all our stuff” on the karaoke machine – “all our stuff” being their catalog of two songs. They did! So … Brooks & Dunn waited their turn, then got on stage and, with people dancing and the duo’s faces on multiple video screens all round the joint, they sang their two hits while people danced and cheered and sang along.

“We knocked ’em out!” Kix said.

Walking off the stage, he looked at Dunn. The karaoke bar was still cranked up with energy. “We killed ’em!” he said. “They love us!”

Basking in the glow of appreciation from a free performance for their fans, Brooks and Dunn humbly walked/stumbled off the stage and ended up behind one of the female patrons. And Kix heard the happy karaoke fan screaming in her friend’s ear, “Boy, those two guys sure LOOK like Brooks & Dunn,” she said, “but they can’t sing a lick!”

True story.