Five Songs Kix Brooks Wrote Before There Was a Brooks & Dunn

On Sunday (May 12), Leon Eric “Kix” Brooks arrives at that supposedly dull but cozy age the Beatles envisioned when they were mere lads: Yep, he turns 64. But he’s not the kind to busy himself “mending a fuse” or “digging the weeds” as the song imagines.

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Reunited with his performing partner, Ronnie Dunn, Brooks is riding high on their new star-glittered album, Reboot, which debuted at No. 1. The duo will commence a six-night run at the Coliseum at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas in June. And Brooks continues to host American Country Countdown, a gig he’s had since 2006.

The Louisiana native was a rising songwriting talent before he paired with Dunn in 1991 to create a chart-topping powerhouse. For the duo, he co-wrote such hits as “Brand New Man,” “My Next Broken Heart,” “That Ain’t No Way to Go” and “Red Dirt Road.”

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Recording separately, Brooks & Dunn had made slight inroads as solo acts. Dunn charted two singles — in 1983 and ’84 — and Brooks did the same in 1983 and ’89. But neither cracked the Top 50. Success would have to be a team effort.

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Then there’s that little matter of Brooks & Dunn being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame later this year.

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Since we’re dealing with the passage of time, let’s mosey back through the calendar and listen to five of Brooks’ early triumphs for other artists:

  1. John Conlee’s “I’m Only in It for the Love”

    No. 1, 1983

    Writers: Brooks, Deborah Allen, Rafe Van Hoy

    A breezy, bouncy bid for “a love that’s everlasting.”

  2. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Modern Day Romance”

    No. 1, 1985

    Writers: Brooks, Dan Tyler

    Wherein changing a tire leads to changing a life.

  3. Oak Ridge Boys’ “You Made a Rock of a Rolling Stone”

    No. 24, 1986

    Writers: Brooks, Chris Waters

    How a good woman’s love becomes a wanderer’s exit ramp.

  4. Highway 101’s “Who’s Lonely Now”

    No. 1, 1989

    Writers: Brooks, Don Cook

    A situation in which walking out was easier than walking back in.

  5. McBride & The Ride’s “Sacred Ground”

    No. 2, 1992

    Writers: Brooks, Vern Rust

    Hands off my woman, you cad, she’s solidly mine! Brooks charted with this song from his self-titled album for Capitol in 1989. But it peaked at No. 87.

So happy birthday, Kix, and be of good cheer, Kix. Ronnie turns 66 June 1.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to