Brooks & Dunn on Country Hall of Fame Induction: ‘It’s Just Weird’
Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn may never understand why they're Country Music Hall of Famers, but they're not giving the medallions back. In accepting the honor on Sunday night (Oct. 20) in Nashville, Brooks & Dunn defined humility.
Brooks spoke first, showing appreciation and a deeper connection to fellow inductees Ray Stevens and Jerry Bradley. He also questioned Reba McEntire's sincerity in presenting them with the honor, wondering aloud if she even really liked them. Speaking of their shared Las Vegas residency, he quipped, “We’re like coleslaw on a BBQ. You’re gonna get us whether you want to or not.” The crowd appreciated his dry sense of humor.
Thus was the tone of the singer/songwriter/guitarist's 10-minute speech. Having a bronze plaque in the Country Music Hall of Fame with his and Dunn's faces on it feels surreal, he admits.
"Putting the two of us together on a Tuesday and us writing our first two No. 1 records on Thursday and Friday, it’s just weird,” Brooks said, referring to how Brooks & Dunn formed after solo careers. “The whole thing has just been — sitting here tonight, looking at that, is weird. I don’t understand it, but I’m gonna go with it.”
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On several occasions, Dunn genuinely cracked up with surprise at his longtime bandmate's remarks. He spoke of how Merle Haggard urged them to stay together when they broke up in 2010 and urged them to reunite a few years later, a conversation that smoothed a road to their long-running Las Vegas residency.
"Have you ever been invited to a really cool party that you just can't believe you're there?" Brooks asked, struggling to describe what it feels like to be wearing the medallion. "And you walk in there's some really cool people in there and maybe even some people that are really your heroes? It's like you're not one of your heroes, but they're there and you were invited. So you belong here and they make you feel real welcome and it's just really cool to be in the room. That's just kind of how I feel right now."
Dunn's remarks were equally sincere and humble. During his four minutes in front of the microphone, he admitted that seeing a long line of Hall of Famers take their seats to honor him brought tears. At the end, after thanking his family and therapist (both in the room), he confessed that he brings the weirdness during a volley that left the audience cracking up.
"Kix talks about having to work with me too and how weird it is, but it's weird being in here, too," Dunn shared. "I've never been so proud and humbled," he said in closing. "If you don't believe that, step into my heart right now."
During the night, Luke Bryan paid tribute to Brooks & Dunn with "Red Dirt Road," while Trisha Yearwood sang "Believe" and Brothers Osborne sang "Brand New Man." Other performers on Sunday included Ricky Skaggs and Justin Moses who sang "Misty" for Ray Stevens, Marty Stuart and Travis Tritt who sang "Good Hearted Woman" for Bradley and an all-call performance of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken."
Stevens, Bradley and Brooks & Dunn are the 137th, 138th and 139th members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
See Photos from the 2019 Medallion Ceremony: