BROOKS & DUNN PLAY CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA
Even if you don’t know many country music artists, I’d venture to guess you’ve probably heard the name “Brooks & Dunn.” Winning Country Music Association’s ”Vocal Duo of the Year” award practically every year since 1992, Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn must be doing something right. Judging from their performance at JPJ Arena September 7th, it’s apparent they’ve done their homework. Blending old favorites with new songs they captured the audience the moment they stepped onto the stage.
Well known for their high energy shows, Kix Brooks kept things lively with his enthusiastic personality and guitar playing while Ronnie Dunn interacted with the crowd, at one point playing cowbell, tossing drumsticks to fans. Kix also played harmonica and flirted with the female back-up singers, all in good fun. Songs like “She Likes To Get Out of Town,” “Play Something Country,” “You Can’t Take the Honky Tonk (Out of the Girl), “Hillbilly Delux,” and their new single “Put a Girl In It” are so upbeat it’s hard to stay seated, you just want to get up and dance! In fact one lucky girl in the front row was hoisted onto the stage to do-se-do and go for a spin with Kix Brooks. He literally spun her around until they were both a little dizzy. She’ll definitely have something to tell the folks back home!
Ronnie Dunn, who was dressed in black, appears to be the more reserved member of the duo. His vocals are delivered with power and conviction and when he sang “Believe” I got goose bumps. It was beautiful. But that wasn’t the only song that proved to be emotional during the show. As Brooks & Dunn sang “Only In America” several service men marched to the end of catwalk, stood at attention and saluted while red, white and blue streamers cascaded down upon the crowd.
Kix Brooks & Ronnie Dunn sure know how to weave a show together. With up-tempo songs like “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” “Brand New Man,” and “Red Dirt Road,” mixed with ballads like “Neon Moon” and “My Maria” you feel like you’re riding a wave and when it’s over you think, “Wow! That was FUN!
Rodney Atkins opened for Brooks & Dunn. I remember the first time I saw Rodney. I was in Nashville at the 2006 CMA Festival. His drummer, Kevin, actually invited me to the Riverfront to listen to his band and asked if I’d ever heard their song, “If You’re Going Through Hell.” It had just begun to get some air play on the radio and I’d heard it a few weeks before so my girlfriends and I went to the Riverfront and saw Rodney and the band perform. He was terrific and still is.
I got a chance to catch up with both Kevin and Rodney backstage in Charlottesville. They are delightful young men and I’m so glad that Rodney’s songs have done well on country radio. He was quite excited about opening for Brooks & Dunn.
Rodney Atkins exhibits a down home country charm when on stage, comfortably chatting and joking with the audience. He sings “These Are My People” with enthusiasm using a spotlight to shine on “his people” in the crowd. He has quite a sense of humor as evidenced by the song, “Cleaning This Gun” about a father’s advice to a boy who wants to date his daughter. He wrote the song “Watching You” with his son Elijah in mind and I noticed while singing it at JPJ Arena he changed the words “Scooby Doo night light” to “Spiderman night light” so I assume Elijah is a fan of Spiderman these days.
Published in the Star Exponent 9-19-08 - Brooks and Dunn Get Down