The best-selling duo of all time, Brooks & Dunn , announced Nashville’s best kept secret today with the news that their forthcoming collaboration project REBOOT will be available April 5 . Brooks & Dunn hit the studio for the first time together since 2007 joined by an eclectic cast of country’s hottest rising talent and producer Dann Huff to remake 12 timeless Brooks & Dunn hits. Kane Brown , Thomas Rhett , Brett Young , LANCO , Ashley McBryde , Brothers Osborne , Luke Combs , Midland , Cody Johnson , Jon Pardi , Tyler Booth and Kacey Musgraves call the shots on the all-new arrangements of face-to-face collaborations with Brooks & Dunn. What emerged from a year of top-secret sessions ranges from edgy-rock intensity to heartbroken EDM, and from retro honky-tonk fun to the exposed nerves of a reflective acoustic ballad. Offering the first taste of what to expect from the forthcoming release, the revered duo’s takes on “Brand New Man” with Luke Combs and “Believe” with Kane Brown are available today.
“This whole experience has been humbling to say the least. What a cool rush to hear somebody do one of your tunes in a unique way, and it still holds up,” said Ronnie Dunn. “That’s the greatest compliment you can get as an artist. People used to ask us all the time about the legacy we wanted to leave, and it’s honestly just that – you hope the music stands up over time. This is the first opportunity we’ve had to run it up a new flagpole...and it really flies.”
“They’re making their own music,” Kix Brooks adds about the REBOOT guest list. “But just like we did, they still remember and respect the music they grew up with. It makes you feel good that these acts were inspired by us in some small way."
It was a chance meeting between Luke Combs and the duo’s long-time manager that sparked the whole project, when he had explained what the duo meant for his own music. “Brand New Man” offers a brawny, almost gleeful rendition that is a revelation, baptized with a splash of high-energy nostalgia. In similar fashion, Kane Brown took a faithful approach to the spiritually-charged “Believe.” With its breathtaking emotional beauty, Brown tapped into something so genuine it must be heard to be truly comprehended.
“Brooks & Dunn’s music absolutely had a tremendous impact on me,” said Combs. “To me, they invented that foot stomping, driving sound. And it’s so cool that this has turned into such an awesome album, with artists that actually grew up listening to Brooks & Dunn. Their music was so influential to us that having the chance to come in and bounce ideas off the guys and sing with them in the studio was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
“I’ve never really sung in the studio with someone else, especially not with someone whose voice is as good as Ronnie’s,” said Kane Brown. “For him to be looking at me on the other side of the glass, and both of us singing, it was just awesome. It felt like we just got comfortable around each other, so we were really able to kill it.”
We sat down with the duo to talk a little more about their time with Kane in the studio, and Ronnie was blown away. "I remember thinking this will be unique. We walk into the vocal booths and we're facing one another. I said to Kane, ok I'll take the first verse and you take the second. He opens his mouth to sing that song and I remember stepping back and thinking he's bringing it. He's got a great voice and it all matched."
Without a doubt it is one of the best vocal performances of Kane's career, and it shows a side of his vocal range we haven't seen yet.
Photo: Weston Heflin