Monday, June 28, 2010

Brooks & Dunn: Steers and Stripes (2001)

(As published in Blender ... )

Brooks and Dunn
Steers and Stripes
(Arista Nashville)

From drawled vocals to working-class concerns, the tenth-anniversary album from Brooks and Dunn is unmistakably country, but its prominent drums and loud southern-rock guitars also mark a break with the duo’s honky-tonk roots. B&D are even singing harder nowadays, as if their prime-time slot at last year’s Republican convention woke them up to the larger sociopolitical ramifications of boot-scootin’ boogie. By framing their expanded country dance vision with testosterone hooks and soft-hearted ballads, they all but guarantee increased enrollment on their bandwagon. For older fans, “Lucky Me, Lonely You” is hard Bakersfield honky-tonk to its core, and “Deny, Deny, Deny” is as hilariously pathetic an excuse as any ne’er-do-well husband (or ex-president) ever tried to foist upon the little woman.

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