ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR NOMINEE: BROOKS & DUNN
Only a couple of years ago, many people had written off Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn -- the hits weren't coming like they had been, and their fire wasn't burning as hot as it used to.
That was before the blockbuster Steers & Stripes album and the now three-years-running all-star Neon Circus & Wild West Show tour proved to the world that Kix and Ronnie were more vital and energized than they'd ever been.
On that tour, the dynamic duo have been rampaging across the country as born-again entertainers, pulling out every stop to make sure that each and every one of their fans is utterly enthralled.
The twosome feel it's their road show that put them over the top for an ACM Entertainer of the Year nomination.
"It's about getting out there and rocking the fans," says Kix. "When we roll into a town, we want to leave knowing people had a good time -- and the rest of it just makes us glad to still be here."
"What keeps us in the game is the ability to make music and to make people happy," agrees Ronnie. "That's where the rubber meets the road to us. And that's what makes the nominations mean so much to us -- they tell us people are still glad we're here and are into what we're doing."