On Sunday (May 12), Leon Eric “Kix” Brooks arrives at that supposedly dull but cozy age the Beatles envisioned when they were mere lads: Yep, he turns 64. But he’s not the kind to busy himself “mending a fuse” or “digging the weeds” as the song imagines.
Reunited with his performing partner, Ronnie Dunn, Brooks is riding high on their new star-glittered album, Reboot, which debuted at No. 1. The duo will commence a six-night run at the Coliseum at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas in June. And Brooks continues to host American Country Countdown, a gig he’s had since 2006.
The Louisiana native was a rising songwriting talent before he paired with Dunn in 1991 to create a chart-topping powerhouse. For the duo, he co-wrote such hits as “Brand New Man,” “My Next Broken Heart,” “That Ain’t No Way to Go” and “Red Dirt Road.”
Recording separately, Brooks & Dunn had made slight inroads as solo acts. Dunn charted two singles — in 1983 and ’84 — and Brooks did the same in 1983 and ’89. But neither cracked the Top 50. Success would have to be a team effort.
Then there’s that little matter of Brooks & Dunn being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame later this year.
Since we’re dealing with the passage of time, let’s mosey back through the calendar and listen to five of Brooks’ early triumphs for other artists:
John Conlee’s “I’m Only in It for the Love”
No. 1, 1983
Writers: Brooks, Deborah Allen, Rafe Van Hoy
A breezy, bouncy bid for “a love that’s everlasting.”
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Modern Day Romance”
No. 1, 1985
Writers: Brooks, Dan Tyler
Wherein changing a tire leads to changing a life.
Oak Ridge Boys’ “You Made a Rock of a Rolling Stone”
No. 24, 1986
Writers: Brooks, Chris Waters
How a good woman’s love becomes a wanderer’s exit ramp.
Highway 101’s “Who’s Lonely Now”
No. 1, 1989
Writers: Brooks, Don Cook
A situation in which walking out was easier than walking back in.
McBride & The Ride’s “Sacred Ground”
No. 2, 1992
Writers: Brooks, Vern Rust
Hands off my woman, you cad, she’s solidly mine! Brooks charted with this song from his self-titled album for Capitol in 1989. But it peaked at No. 87.
So happy birthday, Kix, and be of good cheer, Kix. Ronnie turns 66 June 1.