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From the Country Standard Time Archives

Brooks & Dunn bring energy to show

The Meadows, Hartford, Conn., June 12, 1999

By Michael Sudhalter

HARTFORD - Brooks & Dunn brought a party atmosphere to their concert, and save for some dull moments of meaningless chatter, the duo delivered a mix of ballads and uptempo songs with a great deal of energy.

Dunn drew a wild response from the crowd as he began the 90-minute concert with "Honky-Tonk Truth." While Dunn continued to excel on lead vocals, Brooks ran around the stage and sang solid backup vocals.

When Brooks took over the lead vocals for "Your Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone," it was apparent that he had a sore throat. Because his voice was not at full strength, it wasn't as entertaining to hear Brooks on lead vocals.

After Brooks' subpar effort, Dunn regained the audience attention with "My Maria," one of the duo's most popular and recognizable songs.

In a disappointing portio, the duo sat down on stools and talked about relationship problems prior to singing acoustic versions of "Lost and Found" and "A Man This Lonely." While Brooks & Dunn were attempting to get more intimate with the crowd, endless chatter can bore an audience.

Complete with blown up cowboy boots and cowgirls, Brooks & Dunn enticed the audience to participate during the encore of "Rock My World (Little Country Girl)."

Brooks & Dunn showed that they are still the best at bringing their own unique form of revved up honky-tonk to a live show. Perhaps that is why some slower portions of the show lacked in excitement.

Trace Adkins brought a true country presence to the stage during his 45 minutes. Adkins, who sported a white cowboy hat, was outstanding on ballads "The Rest of Mine" and "Every Light in the House."

Adkins showcased a few songs from his next album. The highlight was another ballad "She's Still There," a song about a lingering love. Adkins tends to be the opposite of Brooks & Dunn, excelling on country ballads rather than high energy songs.

For a new group in country, the Wilkinsons had great stage presence during their 30 minutes. Highlights were the hit "26 Cents" and "The Yodelin' Blues," where the group excelled at combining traditional and contemporary country.

In 25 minutes, the Warren Brothers showed that their music has absolutely nothing to do with country. Most songs were extremely generic, especially due to excess drums.

Susan Ashton was also disappointing because of overplayed drums, which made the lyrics difficult to understand. However, Ashton came through on "Getaway Car," a ballad similar to Trisha Yearwood's style.

Three newcomers performed four song acoustic sets with their guitar players.

Claudia Church showed that her uptempo songs "Whats the Matter With You Baby" and "Small Town Girl" were as catchy and infectious as her ballads "Home in My Heart" and "Just As Long As You Love Me" were touching.

Chalee Tennison focused on ballads during her short set. Despite her efforts to sing these ballads in a traditional style, Tennison does not yet have enough stage presence or musical diversity.

Julie Reeves combined style and sophistication with her simple Kentucky roots. "Trouble is A Woman" and "Do You Think About Me?" are songs that pop-country artists Faith Hill or Shania Twain would feel comfortable singing. On the other hand, "If Heartaches Had Wings," is a stone-country song that Loretta Lynn would not turn down.

While the rest of the acts at the festival lacked Brooks & Dunn's party atmosphere, each act displayed the diversity of today's country music: for better or worse.