Give these guys their own talk show — and strap yourself in for a wild ride.
Trace Adkins and Kix Brooks (of Brooks & Dunn fame) had the audience in stitches Friday (June 11) when they appeared together on the CMA Celebrity Closeup interview series at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. LeAnn Rimes also appeared in an earlier segment of the show to talk about her recent move to Nashville, her marriage and the joys and demands of her career.
There ensued some badinage between Brooks and Adkins about their relative positions on the Country Music Association’s board of directors. Brooks is president, Adkins a mere member. “Kix has all the power,” Adkins drawled. “That’s how they win that [vocal duo] award every year.” Turning to the fact that this year’s CMA Music Festival was being filmed for a television special, Brooks presented the event as a latter day Woodstock. Adkins’ mind was elsewhere. “When you see a camera around,” he advised the audience, “say something really stupid and you might get on it.”
Even on serious queries, Adkins tended toward the whimsical. Responding to one about his motives for becoming an entertainer, he said, “One of the reasons I got into the music business was to meet Ray Charles. When I did, I was completely dumbfounded — the same as I am around Shania [Twain]. … She moved to Sweden or somewhere to get away from me.”
Asked why he calls himself “the pretty one” of the Brooks & Dunn duo, Adkins jumped in before Brooks could even answer. Adkins asserted, “I don’t find either of them very attractive.” When asked if his daughters are embarrassed by his onstage dance moves, Adkins confirmed, “They are, and I understand. What would I think if it was Mama up there doing that?” Said Brooks, “I try to embarrass my kids constantly. That’s why we have them, don’t we?” As if to demonstrate that point, he stopped the show later on to call his daughter, Molly, on stage. When she did, he gave her a hug, turned her around and sent her on her puzzled way.
Brooks also talked about the potential of getting injured during live performances. “I’ve been sewed up more than Raggedy Ann,” he lamented. He told about operating a guitar-shaped smoke machine that pumped out “smoke” made of vegetable oil. The problem with this device, he pointed out, was that when the smoke settled on the stage floor, it made it slick as ice. “It’s embarrassing when you fall on the stage and bust your ass,” he said, “but it’s worse when you’re down on your hands and knees and can’t get up. I looked around, and there were five other guys just like me, and what made it bearable was that one of them was Ronnie Dunn.” Brooks advised the crowd that he stays in shape by watching his treadmill run “30 or 40 minutes a day.”
Regarding the stars’ vehicular preferences, Adkins and Brooks both said they do not ride Harleys. Adkins explained, “I like having skin.” Brooks agreed, noting, “I’m kind of like Trace. If I get the urge to ride, I just work myself over with a belt sander.”
Adkins explained how he got involved in doing Kentucky Fried Chicken commercials, explaining that he read for the part without expecting much to come from it. “I appreciate Trace’s humility,” Brooks said, “but I think someone over there [at the advertising agency] said, ‘You know, Trace kind of sounds like God.'” To which, Adkins quipped, “I’ve been working on it. James Earl Jones can’t live forever.” Then, in a rumbling voice that shook the room, he growled, “This is CNN.”
In her part of the show, Rimes revealed that she and her husband, dancer Dean Sheremet, moved back to Nashville from Los Angeles with a menagerie of seven dogs and two cats. Why so many? “I love animals,” Rimes explained, “and we just started collecting them, I guess.” She said it was “mostly a family thing” that prompted the move. “My dad’s lived here for five or six years, and my mom moved back here with us. … [My husband and I] want to start a family some day, and we don’t want to raise kids in Los Angeles, even though I love it there.” She said that her life on the road kept her from learning the basic domestic arts, but that her husband is a good cook and often prepares romantic meals for her. It was Sheremet’s “craziness” and sense of humor, however, that first attracted her to him. “He’s so much fun to be around,” she said. That he’s the professional dancer in the family doesn’t intimidate her, she asserted. “I started dancing when I was 2 years old,” she said. “So I can hold my own.”
Rimes said she was excited about her forthcoming album, which has been a year and a-half in the making. She added that she’s tested the music on Sheremet’s 15-year-old sister to see if it has youth appeal and is satisfied with the response. Asked about the sexy image portrayed in her publicity pictures and videos. “I enjoy showing what I have — in a tasteful way,” Rimes said. “I don’t plan on taking all my clothes off any time soon.” And the tabloids? “I love those magazines,” she said. “They either have it completely right or completely wrong.” Rimes conceded the magazines can be hurtful and said she never buys them. She noted that being so much in the public eye has made her less judgmental of others. In what sounded like an allusion to the much-publicized spat between her and her father, now resolved, she continued, “[Gossip-mongers] don’t really know my life. They don’t know what led me to make those decisions.”
A part of the CMA Music Festival, the CMA Celebrity Closeup series was moderated by Lorianne Crook.