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Stagecoach 2010: Brooks & Dunn...and done!

April 26, 2010 | 10:30 am

Because Brooks & Dunn and Toby Keith played Sunday night after the deadline for Monday Calendar's Stagecoach report, coverage of their performances is being blogged on Pop & Hiss:


The charitable view of Kix Brooks & Ronnie Dunn’s announcement last August that they’ve decided to call it quits as a duo, which included the detail that they wouldn’t do so until the end of a 2010 farewell tour, is that they wanted to give fans some closure, one last chance to see them live.

The cynical view is that they simply want to give a fading career one last jolt in the bank account before each musician moves on to new ventures. It’s hard not to take the cynical view when Brooks & Dunn’s long hit streak, which started to sputter about a decade ago, was built on songs that craftily — cynically? — combine time-honored country music imagery, push-button emotions and frequently derivative instrumental and melodic hooks.

All were in play Sunday night as the farewell tour touched down at Stagecoach. The set went heavy on the hits, and no production touch was too shameless for their adoring crowd, including the trotting out of three military officers in full uniform to salute the flag during 2001's “Only in America,” which concluded with the firing of confetti cannons packed with red, white and blue streamers.

Or consider the chorus of “Hard Workin’ Man,” their 1993 hit.

I’m a hard workin’ man
I got it all on the line
For a piece of the promised land
I’m burnin’ my candle at both ends
'Bout the only way to keep the fire goin’
Is to outrun the wind

Shall we play Count the Clichés? And exactly how does one keep a fire going by outrunning the wind?

Contrast that with the artistry Merle Haggard brough to his deft blue-collar anthem, “Working Man Blues,” which he sang the previous night.

Sometimes I think about leaving, do a little bummin' around
I wanna throw my bills out the window catch a train to another town
But I go back working I gotta buy my kids a brand new pair of shoes
Yeah drink a little beer in a tavern,
Cry a little bit of these working man blues

During the recent Academy of Country Music Awards, where Brooks & Dunn picked up one more duo of the year award — even though it belonged to Sugarland — fans were allowed to vote for which song they wanted to hear as their final performance on the show.

They were given a list of their most popular songs from which to choose. I’d have lobbied to hear them cover the Dan Hicks classic “How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away?”

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Ronnie Dunn, left, and Kix Brooks at Stagecoach. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times