Before he became half of Brooks & Dunn, the most popular country duo of the ’90s, Kix Brooks cut an unsuccessful solo album on the basis of a much more productive songwriting career. Brooks was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1955, and discovered country music through his neighbor Johnny Horton; he began performing with Horton’s daughter as a youth, and spent his high-school years playing clubs and writing songs on the side. After graduation, he moved to Alaska to work on the oil pipeline, and then relocated to Maine, where he performed often at ski resorts and other venues. He moved to Nashville in the early ’80s and landed a job as a staff songwriter with Tree Publishing, which resulted in his compositions being recorded by the likes of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Highway 101, and John Conlee, among others.
Brooks recorded his first solo single, “Baby, When Your Heart Breaks Down,” for Avion in 1983, but returned to songwriting when it barely made the charts. In 1989, he gave recording a second try, cutting an entire album for Liberty/Capitol; Kix Brooks failed to make the charts when it was released, but was reissued all the same in 1994, once Brooks & Dunn had hit the big time. Moreover, the track “Sacred Ground” was later covered by McBride & the Ride for a hit. Brooks & Dunn called it quits on September 2, 2010 after a concert in Nashville. Brooks’ first solo album after the split was New to This Town, released in September of 2012.
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