When Brooks & Dunn took the stage at the 1993 CMA Awards, they were at the beginning of a streak of awards. The group was also riding the wave of their fifth number-one single. They took home the CMA for Best Vocal Duo the previous year. The duo would go on to win that award thirteen more times by 2006. That night, they performed “She Used to Be Mine” and showed everyone why they deserved that title.
Brooks & Dunn saw unprecedented success with their first album “Brand New Man” and its singles. The album and four of its singles went to the top of the charts. Their second album was a little less successful in that it only produced two number-one hits and peaked at number four on the album charts. Later, the album would go on to be certified quadruple platinum. The duo’s “sophomore slump” was a dream for most artists. Needless to say, they were riding high going into the 1993 CMA Awards show.
Brooks & Dunn Perform “She Used to Be Mine”
If you ignore Ronnie Dunn’s incredibly 90s hair, Brooks & Dunn turn in a very no-frills performance. The duo stands in front of the backing band. Ronnie is front and center with Kix Brooks hanging back and playing guitar. This sedate performance not only fits the mood of the song but also allows the group to shine.
“She Used to Be Mine” is a song about missing an ex while taking responsibility for ruining the relationship. The self-awareness in the lyrics adds another layer of lonesome to the already-sad subject matter. Throughout the verses, Dunn sings about seeing an ex out at a bar with her new man which makes the pain of missing her almost too much to bear. The chorus of the song is where the admissions of guilt come in with the lyrics, “I did her so wrong, for so long/ Turned my back on her love, now she’s long gone/ I did my part, to break her heart/ She walked out on me, and tore my world apart/ She used to be mine.”
Like many of Brooks & Dunn’s songs, Ronnie wrote “She Used to Be Mine.” His sedate and slightly sad performance makes it seem like he lived the song and is stepping back into memory. However, once the song is over, he steps right back out again.
The real key to the success of Brooks & Dunn can be seen at the end of the performance. The duo comes together on the stage and a smiling Kix Brooks gives Dunn a friendly shove. At that moment, they look less like an iconic country duo and more like two buddies who just did something that they love. Their connection and chemistry are what took their music to the top of the charts for years. It’s a large part of why we still love Brooks & Dunn today.