EXCLUSIVE: Kix Brooks Reveals Why 90s Country Band Brooks & Dunn Broke Up

by Clayton Edwards

Brooks & Dunn were one of the biggest groups in 90s country. Their first album alone produced more hits than most artists see in their entire career. They were, and still are, an iconic duo. The duo announced that they were going their separate ways in 2009. After over 20 years and several chart-topping hits as a duo, it was time for Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn to go their separate ways.

In the latest episode of “The Road You Leave Behind with Marty Smith,” Kix Brooks sheds some light on why the duo broke up after such a long and successful run.

In broaching the subject of Brooks & Dunn’s breakup, Marty Smith walked the line between expert host and passionate fan. He asked Brooks, “I’m one of y’all’s biggest fans and I’ve never heard y’all really talk about [the breakup]. What was the reason? What made y’all say ‘We want to take some time apart from one another’? Was it inspirations outside of the group that you had and aspirations? Why?”

According to Kix, Brooks & Dunn’s breakup came from creative differences. “I think it had been brewing a long time. I think Ronnie really wanted to try a solo career. There’s always some compromise going on musically when putting a record together. We were trying to put a record together and, ya know, I had songs that he didn’t like. [Dunn] had songs that I felt we could do better. He didn’t want to hear that and I didn’t either. He just said, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore,’ and I said, ‘great’”

Brooks and Dunn’s Split Was Friendly

Brooks went on to clarify that there was no animosity in the split. “There had been times in the past that, ya know, he said ‘I can do this by myself’ and I said, ‘then you should, man’ in all sincerity. We both were doing good twenty years ago when we met, and now we’re doing great. We had a heck of a run and we had nothing but everything to be thankful for.”

Brooks went on to say that he encouraged Dunn’s solo career the whole way.

Despite their chemistry in the studio and on the stage, Brooks & Dunn started as strangers. On this Kix Brooks said, “We ran hard for twenty years against all odds, not knowing each other. We weren’t like high school buddies who this had always been our dream… We were suddenly put in a situation where we had to compromise everything we did and we made it work. For twenty years.”

In the end, they just needed to take a break. Brooks & Dunn never fought or yelled at one another. Kix told Marty Smith, “We never said ‘when Hell freezes over’ or any of that crap like the Eagles did. We just needed to take a deep breath.”

In fact, Brooks goes on to say that about six months after their final shows together, Brooks & Dunn went on vacation together with Reba McEntire and a few other country stars. The duo even continued to duck hunt together. To this day, they enjoy hanging out and playing music together.

Kix says that after Brooks & Dunn got back together, it was as if no time had passed. Their chemistry was still there, and all of their old songs still felt good to him. What’s more, the duo plans to hit the road together once again this fall, if possible.

To hear more from Kix Brooks, including the conversation that he had with Merle Haggard about the breakup, check out the full episode of “The Road You Leave Behind with Marty Smith,” when it drops tomorrow, Friday, January 22.

Watch previous full video podcasts on Outsider’s Youtube.