Kix Brooks Opens Up About Conversation With Merle Haggard Following Brooks & Dunn’s Breakup in 2009

by Chris Haney

Country music legend Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn joined our very own Marty Smith for volume two of Outsider’s The Road You Leave Behind with Mary Smith podcast. Back in 2009, Brooks and his bandmate Ronnie Dunn parted ways. And according to Kix, country icon Merle Haggard ripped him a new one for it.

During the exclusive interview, Brooks spoke out about the country duo’s breakup. He talked openly and honestly about their amicable decision to walk away from the band, but also touched on their continued support of each other. The conversation led to a fascinating anecdote about Brooks speaking with the Hag.

Haggard joined Brooks & Dunn for the last two weeks of their final tour over a decade ago. Haggard asked Brooks to join him on his tour bus during their stop in Woodstock, NY. The country icon went on to ask Brooks what everyone else at the time was thinking: why on Earth would you break up?

Kix Brooks and Merle Haggard’s Tour Bus Conversation

Haggard couldn’t understand why Kix and Ronnie would break up while still selling out shows to thousands of fans. And not to mention, tearing it up on Country Music radio. He pointed outside of the tour bus at the huge crowd waiting to see their country music idols that night.

“He goes ‘What in the F is wrong with you?’ I said, ‘I don’t know Merle, I don’t know what the F is wrong with me,'” Brooks said of their conversation.

“He said, ‘Man, look at all those people. They come out here to see you play. Why would y’all want to break up?'” Brooks says Haggard asked him.

Brooks explained it the best way he knew how. He referenced Haggard and Willie Nelson’s relationship. And told him how much he loved their album Pancho & Lefty and their hit title track.

“Y’all made one record together, and you’re best buddies. And Ronnie and I made it 20 freakin’ years together, and you’re asking me that question?” Brooks said to Haggard.

“He kinda grinned, and took a toke off his toke. He looked back at me and goes, ‘Yea, but we only had one hit,'” Haggard hilariously responded as Kix Brooks laughed at the memory.

Brooks Talks About the Band’s ‘Great Run’

Brooks joked that he let Haggard win the conversation that day, but that Brooks & Dunn’s career far exceeded his expectations. The band’s wildly successful 20-year run is more than he could’ve ever asked for, and he’s proud that they made their partnership work for multiple decades.

Despite breaking up, Brooks says he and Dunn never once raised their voices to each other, and have never fought. In fact, the two country legends even went on vacation together six months after breaking up. In addition, they continued to duck hunt together.

As Brooks says to Smith in the interview, “We needed to take a deep breathe, and we did.”

Years after the breakup, Brooks & Dunn reunited. They have continued to work together and recently played at the CMT Awards with Luke Combs in October. Fans will be excited to know that the group is planning on touring again later this year as well. As Brooks said, he and Ronnie Dunn have had a great run together. However, it sounds like that run isn’t over just yet.

For more about Kix Brooks and other artists, watch the full video podcasts on Outsider’s Youtube and be sure to listen on Apple Podcasts (below).