Had Brooks & Dunn been paired sooner, would they be Kix & Ronnie? Blake Weldon and Brian McGowan (ages 31 and 28 respectively) skew younger, so they¦re Blake & Brian. Producer Chuck Howard teamed the two Texans, perhaps because they¦re indistinguishable vocally and equally malleable. Howard outfits his new duo in high-grade imitation leather and saddles them with some classy duds - knock-offs of "Desperado"-era Eagles and Outlaw boot-scuffers. "Another Perfect Day" rewrites "Tequila Sunrise." "Straight to You" recharges Patty Loveless¦ "Hurt Me Bad (In a Real Good Way)" and "I Came Straight to You" (and, by extension, Garth¦s "Unanswered Prayers").
Fortunately, the shuffling "Why, Why, Why" and "Shut Up Heart" punch up the non-stop bromides with timeless Texas kick. "If Guitars Were Guns" trots out collectible Jesse James cliches while a curio, "The Wish," finds a talking gun wishing it was a "swing set in some little kid¦s back yard."
"Confederate Rose" also plays off sepia-toned American myth, but its dreamy, suspended-note chorus evokes Brits Pink Floyd. Waylon and Charlie Daniels cameo on "Don¦t Apologize For Who You Are," penned by Jennings and Troy Seals. How quickly "rebels" are consumed, exhumed and assume mythological status! But Blake & Brian believe - because they have to.