Exactly two years ago today, country music duo Brooks & Dunn released their 11th studio album, Reboot. The album showcases 12 Brooks & Dunn songs re-recorded as duets with other country stars, such as Luke Combs, Kacey Musgraves, Kane Brown, Jon Pardi and Brothers Osborne.
The duo formed in 1990 and broke up in 2010 before getting back together in 2015 for a Las Vegas residency. They joined the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2019.
In 2019, Rolling Stone talked to Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn about their partnership and the process of releasing the record.
Brooks & Dunn Took an Unconventional Path With Reboot
With Reboot, Brooks and Dunn put a youthful spin on their own catalog. They told Rolling Stone that while Reboot was their manager’s idea, they chose to take a less conventional path with the record. And one thing they didn’t want to do was get into the politics of radio play.
“The dynamics of that particular issue have changed so much, because it’s conglomerated now. It was like, ‘You do this or you’re not played over here.’ There used to be a station or two that you’d battle, but suddenly it’s become a whole bloc,” Dunn said. “The demands that are made on labels and artists coming along now are unbelievable.”
“At the risk of sounding like an ass, we did kind of climb Everest,” Brooks agreed. “Do we want to do that again? When we finished this record, the label came over with pages and pages of stuff for us to do. It was like, ‘Boys, you’re going back to work. You’re back in the army. Put your boots on.’”
What’s more, they weren’t interested in recording duets with “Keith and Tim and Faith and George,” Brooks said. Instead, they put together a roster of Nashville newcomers with their own distinctive sounds.
The result was Reboot, which rose to No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. It was Brooks & Dunn’s first No. 1 record in almost 10 years, going back to their greatest hits album Number 1s… and Then Some.
The Duo Are Up for an ACM Award
In February, the Academy of Country Music revealed the nominees for the 56th Annual ACM Awards. The awards will air live from Nashville on Sunday, April 18 at 7 p.m. CST. They will take place in three iconic music venues: the Grand Ole Opry House, the Ryman Auditorium and The Bluebird Café, per The Oklahoman.
Brooks & Dunn received a nomination for Duo of the Year. They’re up against The Brothers Osborne, Dan + Shay, Florida Georgia Line and Maddie and Tae.
Whether the duo takes home an ACM Award or not, they can be satisfied that they’ve produced plenty of good country music in their time. And Reboot remains one of their best and most successful albums ever.