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Brooks & Dunn

Steers & Stripes – 2001 (Arista)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Brooks & Dunn

The longstanding, award duo of Brooks & Dunn sounds more invigorated on their latest after a time where they could have been accused of coasting.

While there may not be a huge difference between this and other recent efforts, the singing certainy sounds inspired, like the revved-up leadoff "Only in America," describing where all dreams are possible. Ronnie Dunn's vocals sound as good as ever and are well-suited to the material. He can reach down and get to the heart of a song.

Many of the songs are in the fast-paced, rocking B&D mode, which works far better than the ballads (the overblown power ballad "Unloved" is particularly unexciting). Very little change there in that country is more of a backdrop for their standard sound of loud guitars, a heavy drum beat and a big sound. "Good Girls Go to Heaven" and the closing "See Jane Dance" particularly typify the B&D beat to the max. A Tex-Mex sound on several songs ("Deny, Deny, Deny" and "My Heart Is Lost to You") works particularly well.

This may be music based in '90's country, but at least given the roots of the music, the songs more frequently than not are of quality instead of the hit-and-miss recent efforts.