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New To This Town by Kix Brooks

This isn’t Kix Brooks’ first rodeo. In 1989, he released his self-titled solo album a couple of years before hooking up with Ronnie Dunn for a nearly 20 year run as country music’s premiere vocal duo.

But New To This Town isn’t Brooks & Dunn.

In fact, it’s a far cry from it. The distinctive rawness omnipresent in Kix’s voice gives each tune on this 12-track collection an energy similar to that he exhibited in the duo’s live performances. Which isn’t to say that every song is a barnburner. In fact, it’s a cool, almost lazy swagger in Kix’s voice that amps up the sweet sincerity on “Bring It On Home” and the weary ache on the pensive closer “She Knew I Was A Cowboy.” But it also rocks with  “My Baby.”

Releasing the title track as the first single from the project was strategic. “New To This Town” eases listeners into the idea of Kix being on his own. Co-written by frequent Brooks & Dunn contributor, Terry McBride, it could have easily found it’s place on one of the duo’s albums, but Kix who rarely took the lead on Brooks & Dunn tunes, has this one in the bag.

A prolific writer on his own,  New To This Town is laden with clever lyrics; but Kix sitting down with legendary writers Curly Putman (“He Stopped Loving Her Today”) and Rafe Van Hoy (“Golden Ring”) to create  the smile-inducing “Tattoo.”

However, one of the brightest spots on the album was actually written by The Peach Pickers—Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson and Ben Hayslip. “In the Right Place” is one of those rare love songs perfectly written for a man—confident, charming, fun and crazy-sexy.

There are skeptics that thought the demise of Brooks & Dunn would mean the end of Kix’s career as an artist. But New To This Town more marks the start of a fresh journey.

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