Brooks & Dunn released their debut album BRAND NEW MAN in 1991. Fast forward to 2001 and they released their seventh studio album, STEERS & STRIPES (Arista Nashville). It was produced by the duo and Mark Wright. Five of the songs made it on to the Billboard Hot Country & Singles Tracks chart, with 3 hitting #1.
‘Only in America’ was used by George W. Bush and Barack Obama in their presidential runs. It is a rousing, patriotic country and western song: “One kid dreams of fame and fortune/One kid helps pay the rent/One could end up goin’ to prison/One just might be President/Only in America/Dreamin’ in red, white an’ blue/Only in America/Where we dream as big as we want to/We all get a chance/Everybody gets to dance/Only in America”. ‘The Last Thing I Do’ is a fast-paced country rocker of determination: “Yea, I’ve been drivin’ like I’m struck by lightnin’/I think about you and I start to speed/I might as well be playin’ with matches/In a truckload of gasoline/If it’s the last thing I do/If it takes me from Tupelo to Timbuktu/If it’s the last thing I do/I’m gonna dodge every roadblock, speed trap and county cop/To get my hands on you/If it’s the last thing I do (3X)”.
‘The Long Goodbye’ is a great ballad about the demise of a romantic relationship: “How long must we keep running on a carousel/Goin’ round and round and never getting anywhere/On a wing and prayer?/This is the long goodbye/Somebody tell me why/Two lovers in love can’t make it/Just what kind of love keeps breaking a heart?/No matter how hard I try/I always make you cry/Come on, baby/It’s over, let’s face it/All that’s happening here is a long goodbye”. ‘Go West’ is a melodic country/pop song about a young couple: “And that painted sky was made for us/It’s everything we ever dreamed of/Yea, we can drive all night and till the mornin’ light/Let’s go west/A place that we can go where the tall dreams grow/Let’s go west/And we’ll find a place to call our own/There’s somewhere out there we belong/Let’s go west”.
‘My Heart is Lost to You’ has a warm, tropical feel to it: “Maybe it was the moonlight, the scent of you on the breeze/Maybe it was your shadow that fell over me/Such a beautiful stranger, eyes darker than coal/Your first look crossed the desert into my soul/Mi corazon es perdido a ti/My heart is lost to you/You have captured my love completely/My heart is lost to you (2X)”. ‘Good Girls Go to Heaven’ is a fun, scorchin’ honky tonk song: “Miss high fullutin’ likes to sip fine champagne/Prim and proper drippin’ in diamond rings/Little sister wears high heels and blue jeans/A long neck drinkin’ certified wild thang/Some they walk the straight and narrow/Some girls they just don’t care/Good girls to heaven/Bad girls go everywhere (2X)”.
‘When She’s Gone, She’s Gone’ is a realistic and pretty country ballad: “It’s not good for a man to be alone/But a woman needs someone that she can count on/And what I’d give to go back, but the current’s just too strong/And love is like the Mississippi/When she’s gone, she’s gone/Yeah, she’s gone”. ‘Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You’ was the album’s lead single. It spent six weeks at the top of the Country charts and Billboard ranked it as the Top Country Song of 2001. This country/pop gem praises a woman poetically: “I love your attitude, your rose tattoo, your every thought/Your smile, your lips, and girl the list goes on and on/The way you look, the way you laugh/The way you love with all you have/There ain’t nothing ‘bout you that don’t do something for me/The way you kiss, the way you cry/The way you move when you walk by...”.
‘Unloved’ is actually a strong declaration of love: “Now and then comes a love that’s heaven sent and meant to be/So baby, look at me/You’ll never be without, you’ll always have enough/When you’re in my arms/You’ll never go unloved/As long as there is time/And for all of it to come/No matter where you go/I want you to know you’ll never be unloved”. ‘Deny, Deny, Deny’ is a playful song that begins with these humorous words: “That wasn’t me at a quarter to three back in our backyard/Tearing up the roses and the home grown tomatoes in my new car/Those bottles in the driveway and the bottles in the hall/Well, I don’t know where they came from/It must be burglars in the neighborhood/I sure hope they catch those bums”.
‘Lucky Me, Lonely You’ is an old time country and western dance number: “Girl, you’ve got lonely written all over you/I can read the writing from across this crowded room/All by yourself there in your world of blue/Lucky me, lonely you/Who knows?/The right song, a slow dance might heal your heartache/Somethin’ tells me I don’t know/I just might be here to save the day”. ‘I Fall’ is an easy listening song that begins with utopian lyrics: “I breeze through the day/And nothin’ much seems to get in my way/I don’t have a care at all/You walk in the room/It’s always the same/You call out my name/I turn/You smile/I fall”.
‘Every River’ uses hyperbole: “When the day comes that I don’t love you/Every star will fall out of the sky/And every mountain will tumble down/And every river run dry”. Last up is ‘See Jane Dance’, a carefree rocker: “She jumped up on the stage and after many margaritas/She took her place in line amongst the tanned senioritas/She tore into a groove and lost her inhibition/Stirrin’ up the crowd, she blew away the competition/In her leopard underpants/See Jane dance”.
STEERS & STRIPES is modern country music at its best! This album is a fine mix of fun story songs and quieter, more tender moments. The album is full of emotion. Love, infatuation, commitment, and heartbreak are main themes. Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn share lead vocal duties. Background vocalists include: Bob Bailey, Kim Fleming, Chris Rodriguez, and Trisha Yearwood. Instruments used include: gut string guitar, B-3 organ, steel guitar, dobro, and The Nashville String Machine. I’m rating STEERS & STRIPES a perfect 100%. For more info visit: www.brooksanddunn.wordpress.com.