Kicked back comfortably in a meeting room at the Sony BMG Nashville offices, Ronnie Dunn and Kix Brooks exude the same easygoing charm and mischievous sense of camaraderie that characterizes their hig

Kicked back comfortably in a meeting room at the Sony BMG Nashville offices, Ronnie Dunn and Kix Brooks exude the same easygoing charm and mischievous sense of camaraderie that characterizes their high-octane stage shows and consistently propels their music up the charts. It's a winning combination that once again permeates "Cowboy Town," the duo's new Arista Nashville set.

For the album, the group recorded 34 tracks before narrowing it to 12 songs. The collection is a diverse mix of barroom anthems and more tender fare; the first single, "Proud of the House We Built," is No. 4 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. The duo pays homage to their influences in such tracks as "Johnny Cash Junkie" and "Ballad of Jerry Jeff Walker," with the latter tune featuring an appearance by the legendary Texas singer/songwriter.

One poignant ballad, "God Must Be Busy," will have to be strategically placed in their concerts, Dunn says. "It's so strong, it will take over our show. We're a party band and continue to be so. We can barely do [the last album's hit ballad] 'Believe' in our show. It sobers that crowd up. So we do it kind of at the end, but if you throw those two songs in together, it's going to take a long time to get that energy going again."

"It's about perseverance and hanging in there and having a good time," Dunn adds. "It's a cultural thing. We wear cowboy boots and we are country singers, but it's more about life not getting you down. No matter what happens, you live through it and stick to certain standards."

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