Brooks & Dunn are back!…err…well sort of.
Reboot, the duo’s first studio album since 2008 gives us a fresh look at 12 of their most recognizable songs, all sung by 12 prominent country singers.
The idea actually came from their manager Clarence Spaulding, who noticed a lot of new, up and coming artists, covering Brooks & Dunn in their live shows. Luke Combs would and still does cover “Brand New Man,” whereas Kacey Musgraves would incorporate “Neon Moon” into her live shows. That opened the doors to the possibility of creating an album consisting solely of collaborative covers. Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn were adamant that this album was not going to consist of the “Keith, George, Faith and Tim’s” of the country world. Instead they tapped into new artists, who are shaping the genre today, and it seems like each artist was the perfect fit to their chosen song.
Jon Pardi, purposely did not make any changes to “My Next Broken Heart,” while Cody Johnson’s slowed down, acoustic “Red Dirt Road” still gives me chills whenever I hear it. Thomas Rhett is the perfect match for the fun, free wheeling “My Maria” and Brothers Osbourne make “Hard Workin’ Man” sound like something that could have been their next single. Luke Combs rendition of “Brand New Man” starts the album off, and rightfully so. The album ends on a more somber note, with Kane Brown singing “Believe.” Brown truly has the best baritone voice for this song and he nails it. There is no way the album is complete without this rendition.
Ashley McBryde, 1 of the 2 females featured, is given “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone,” flipping the narrative to be from a woman’s perspective. Kentucky native, Tyler Booth, perhaps the greenest name on the album, absolutely nails it with “Lost and Found.” His voice is perfect for the song, and I can’t wait to see his career take off.
I think I would have been disappointed if there hadn’t been a Midland cover on the album, and they brought it with “Boot Scootin’ Boogie.” Arguably one of The duo’s most recognizable songs, Midland does just enough to not take away from the originals, but still make it sound fresh. LANCO already has touches of rock influence in their music, which they contributed to “Mama Don’t Get Dressed Up For Nothing.” Plus who doesn’t love a good harmonica solo?
Perhaps the two artists that took the most liberties when creating a song and making it their own, were Brett Young and Kacey Musgraves. Young turns “Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You” into a smooth, saxophone playing, blues song. This again feels like something that Young would have cut for his own album. As with most things she is a part of, Kacey Musgraves steals the show on this album. Her arrangement of “Neon Moon” which she and her team came up with nearly a month and a half ago, is nothing short of incredible. Who would have ever thought giving “Neon Moon” an EDM influence would have made it better than the original?
And that’s what this album does. It honors the best duo in country music history, but also gives a voice to so many young and talented artists, just getting started. I wouldn’t be against more established artists doing this with their hit songs.
Garth, Alan, Tim — I’m looking at you.