9 Years Ago: Brooks & Dunn Announce Their Split
Nine years ago today (Aug. 10, 2009), Brooks & Dunn shocked and saddened fans all over the world by announcing their split, after more than 20 years together.
“After 20 years of making music and riding this trail together, we have agreed as a duo that it’s time call it a day,” Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn said in a joint statement. “This ride has been everything and more than we could ever have dreamed … We owe it all to you, the fans. If you hear rumors, don’t believe them, it’s just time.”
Brooks & Dunn released their final album, #1’s … And Then Some, on Sept. 8, 2009. They launched their Last Rodeo Tour and performed their final concert on Sept. 3, 2010, at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena (the proceeds from the show went to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum). But despite the decision to call it quits, the two insisted that there was no animosity between them.
“Nothing lasts forever,” Brooks explained at the time. “We’ve had this process of making records and getting ready for tours year after year … When we were going through, trying to get an album together this year, putting songs back and forth, and the push and pulling, it hit us both: We’ve done all kinds of music you can think of, done every way we could think of doing it for 20 years. We’ve worn this thing every way we know how to wear it! We realized at that point, this may be it.”
Added Dunn, “Differences, over the long run, are what make it work. You’ve got to have that room. Neither one of us are breathing the other’s air.”
After Brooks & Dunn’s split, both men embarked on solo careers: Brooks released New to This Town on Arista Nashville in 2012, while Dunn released his own self-titled album in 2011, also on Arista Nashville, followed by Peace, Love and Country Music in 2014, on Little Will-E Records, and Tattooed Heart in 2016. Dunn also earned two Top 20 singles, “Bleed Red” and “Cost of Livin’.”
The duo reunited in 2015 for a Las Vegas residency, along with their good friend Reba McEntire — a residency that has been extended until at least 2017. They also performed “My Maria” together at the 2015 ACM Awards, and after signing with the Nash Icon record label in 2015 to release his 2016 solo album, Dunn released a single, “Damn Drunk,” featuring Brooks. None of these events necessarily means that a permanent reunion is in the works, however.
“Honestly, it’s funny. I think one of the real rewards for doing this is, not a day goes by where somebody in a very emotional way says, why don’t y’all get back together?” Brooks & Dunn say. “It’s a soft landing and a soft takeoff.”
What ACM Awards Record Do Brooks & Dunn Hold?
Test Your ’90s Country Knowledge!