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Garth Brooks and Kix Brooks Play the Name Game

Erika Goldring, Getty Images

Kix Brooks jokes that half the records he and singing partner Ronnie Dunn sold as Brooks & Dunn were because someone wanting a Garth Brooks album reached into the wrong ‘Brooks’ section at the retail store. It may be closer to the truth that the two could be long-lost cousins, as they are steeped in the same love for country music and a give-it-all attitude on stage.

Garth recalls the first time he heard the name Kix Brooks. “I was signed to Capitol Records in 1987 and was soon told that I had to pick a new name. It seems that they had another artist on their label named Kix Brooks, and they didn’t want anyone to be confused about our names.

“I spent the next six months driving through Arkansas and Kansas trying to figure out what my new name would be,” Garth continues. “As it turned out, Kix’s record deal with them didn’t work out for some reason and I got to keep my name. I was happy about that, but I’m even happier today to know that Kix’s calling would be to join up with a singing partner and totally reshape and redefine the term ‘duet’ for years to come.”

Kix remembers Bob Doyle, who became Garth’s manager, also being instrumental in his early career. “It was Bob who discovered me playing at the Bluebird Cafe and got me my first publishing deal,” he says. “It was sometime later that he called me and said he had this young artist that he was working with named Garth Brooks. He joked that we might be cousins, and he wanted to know if he could bring him out to the house and introduce us.”

Congenial as always, Kix told Bob to come on out. “We were in the midst of playing horseshoes and cooking hotdogs. So they came out to the house, which was a very modest 1,700 square feet home. There was this little quarry hill behind the house, and after we had played horseshoes for awhile, Garth and I crawled up there and were talking and looking down at my spread. I remember him going, ‘This is awesome. I don’t guess I”ll ever have a place like this.’

“I was like, ‘Come on Garth, you’re writing good songs; you sing good. Hang in there pal.’”

Kix pauses for a moment, then grins. “Damn, I’m glad I was nice to him!!! [laughs] Three years later, here comes GarthZilla through the Country Music Jungle.”

Garth was just announced as the newest inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame, along with Grand Ole Opry star Connie Smith and famed session musician Hargus ‘Pig’ Robbins. Kix is enjoying his new solo career with his first single, ‘New to This Town.’

Watch Garth at the Country Music Hall of Fame


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Garth Brooks to Join Country Music Hall of Fame

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