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Brooks & Dunn Confess Break-Up Almost Happened Years Ago

Brooks & Dunn, who shocked country music fans by announcing their split after more than 20 years together, are continuing to speak out about the reasons they’re calling it quits. And if recent comments are any indication, the end of country’s most successful duo was a long time coming.

“Twenty years – that’s a long time to go fishing in the same well,” Kix Brooks tells USA Today. It’s a sentiment echoed by his partner, Ronnie Dunn. “It has run its course,” he says simply.

Both also admit the last 20 years have been difficult. So difficult, in fact, the end of the road almost came years ago. The acrimony between the two became so strong that in the late ’90s, they recorded songs for their album in separate studios, using different producers. “Looking back, we should have just taken a break and let all the dust settle under us,” Ronnie says.

But the pair forged on, continuing to sell millions of albums and perform in front of sold-out crowds. Still, the longer they went on, the more difficult it became to agree on songs. “That’s always a challenge where you’re having to compromise,” says Kix. “There have always been hurt feelings. There have always been opinions.”

It was one of their ongoing disagreements about songs which ultimately caused the end of the duo — instigated when Ronnie said he was unwilling to compromise anymore on what he wanted. “We both knew this was probably it,” Kix says. “He called back the next day and said, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’ And I was in agreement. I really was. I was willing that day to try and work it out, but when he said, ‘This is it, I really think it is,’ I said, ‘I think it is, too’ … I was and still am totally at peace with it. It’s a good time for us to stop.”‘

Even when it came to deciding how to officially split up, the pair disagreed. “I was willing to walk out and never look back,” Ronnie says. “Sometimes, I work a little more from emotion than I do from rational thought.”

Kix had a different idea. “I really felt like we owed it to the fans to let them know that we are going to stop,” he says, “but we are going to do one more tour, so let’s get together and have that party one last time.”

Just because Brooks & Dunn is ending, doesn’t mean that either Ronnie or Kix plan on retiring from their music careers. “To think that either of us would lock up our guitars and not make music again because this thing has run its course doesn’t really make any sense, if you know anything about us,” Kix says. Already nominated for his first CMA Award on his own, for Broadcaster of the Year for his hit radio show ‘American Country Countdown,’ he plans to continue pursuing his interests as both a singer and a songwriter. “I’ll try to find some hits in there. But I’d also like to write some songs that mean something from that singer/songwriter mentality that I come from. I’ve been chasing Guy Clark since I learned how to tune a guitar,” he admits.

Ronnie is already working on his first solo album, which he hopes to release next year. “I’m probably three-quarters of the way through it,” he says. He says, however, that he usually gives a different answer when people ask what his plans are. “I’m looking for a used van, a horse trailer to haul equipment, and a beer-joint band,” he jokes.

Even though the pair are splitting at least in part because of personal and creative differences, they still have a lot of respect for the other. Kix is, according to Ronnie, “a stand-up guy. He’ll come at you head-on. Whether I agree with it or not, he’ll step up. That’s good to be around.”

Kix has equally kind words to say about Ronnie. “I’m proud of him. He’s a great singer and an amazing talent. When he’s on, I just stand there some nights and I smile.”

Brooks & Dunn’s final tour, the ‘Last Rodeo’ will run from April to August of next year, with Jason Aldean as the opening act for the first half of the tour, followed by Gary Allan.

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