DUELING DUOS

Blue County is a new arrival on the country scene, but they just might be able to teach the big boys a thing or two!

Ask the new duo Blue County - Aaron Benward and Scott Reeves - who their favorite duos are, and they don't have to think long before mentioning some of the most famous pairs in American music history.

"The Judds, definitely," declares Scott with a grin. "And one of the greatest compliments we've ever gotten was comparing us to The Everly Brothers. What an honor."

Of course, any mention of top twosomes has to include Brooks & Dunn, the most successful country duo in recent memory, and Montgomery Gentry, who keep cranking out hit after hit. With millions of CDs sold and literally dozens of awards and nominations between them, those two acts have set the country duo bar pretty high.

"Brooks & Dunn have obviously set a lot of the standards we'd like to attain," proclaims Scott. "We could only aspire to be as successful as they are. And we saw Montgomery Gentry recently. They put on an incredible show."

"It was so amazing to us when Troy Gentry came to two of our shows before we even knew them," adds Aaron. "He came up and encouraged us and said, 'You guys are great.' That said a lot to us about the guy's heart."

Compared to Brooks & Dunn and Montgomery Gentry, Blue County's list of career musical achievements thus far is, well ... shorter. But the boys couldn't be happier with their current Top 20 hit, "Good Little Girls." And they've been nominated for an ACM award for Top Vocal Duo.

"Radio and fans - everybody has pretty much embraced us so far," smiles Scott. "Expectations are one thing," agrees Aaron. "But to exceed something you expect is an amazing feeling, and so humbling to us."

Still, they both know they have a long way to go. And they obviously have tremendous respect for the duos that have come before them. But the Blue County boys also have a serious competitive streak. Indiana native and basketball fanatic Aaron has no doubt who'd win a duo duel on the hardwood.

"I'd take me versus Brooks & Dunn," he laughs, "or me versus Montgomery Gentry. I've got short game ... deep range, baby ... take it to the rack ... whatever! I think we could probably take any other duo."

"I'd like to take on The Judds!" chuckles Scott. "I don't think Wynonna can dribble to her left."

In addition to their prowess on the court, Aaron and Scott see other advantages in being Blue County. "We don't have the burden of paying for a bus," says Scott with a smile. "We have the burden of having to pay for a minivan. So we're that much farther ahead. You can fit quite a few people on a Windstar after a show. I don't think those other duos have figured out yet how to save money in this business."

"Plus we have so much more available shelf space for awards in our homes," jokes Aaron. "They've probably had to build extra rooms to accommodate theirs. But we've not had to spend that money at Home Depot, so we're way ahead of the game in that way, too.

"And think of the money we've saved on property taxes with those second and third homes we haven't had to build. We've saved so much money. They could learn from us."

But, all joking aside, the guys concede that life as Blue County is pretty sweet. And in spite of the success their fellow duos have achieved, Scott and Aaron are happy walking in their own shoes.

Their regular show closer and possible next single, "Walk on Water," puts it all into perspective. "That song kind of sums up what we want to accomplish as far as the message we relay to people," explains Aaron. "What really matters are matters of the heart - that's love, compassion, faith, grace, mercy and the things that affect people.

"So we love leaving people with that song as our mission statement."

-- David Scarlett

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