Brooks & Dunn
After more than a decade reigning as country music's most successful duo, one might think Brooks & Dunn would be concerned about Big & Rich, Montgomery Gentry and other twosomes looking to take over their perch. But on their new disc, "Hillbilly Deluxe," the only competition Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn saw was staring them back in the mirror.
"We are competing against ourselves," Brooks says. "There's 28 million people who have Brooks & Dunn CDs ... The challenge is to come up with Brooks & Dunn music that's not something they've got already. That's what we are really up against."
In their quest to create something fresh, the duo enlisted veteran producer Tony Brown. "I've been wanting to work with Tony since I moved to town, but politics and labels kept that from happening," Dunn says, referring to the fact that Brown has always worked for competing labels. "I'm crazy about his song sense and his production style.
"Hillbilly Deluxe" runs the gamut from hard-charging uptempo tunes like first single "Play Something Country," which is No. 4 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart this week, to the understated ballad "I May Never Get Over You."
"It goes from a honky-tonk to a spiritual side of us. I think it's OK to go to church with your head banging from Saturday night, as long as you make it," Brooks quips.