Just pullin in checking it out for the first time"
"New to This Town" by Kix Brooks, Marv Green and Terry McBride
Its been more than 30 years since Kix Brooks was new to the town that he made his home, where he married, raised two children and built an accomplished career as a songwriter, singer and half of the most successful duo in country music history, a weekly national radio show host, magazine columnist, film producer, actor, winery owner and active and influential member of the music industry and community at large.
And yet here he is, picking up where he started when he really was new to this town, when his very first solo single in 1983 lumbered up the country chart to #73 before being hijacked by gravity into oblivion.
"New to This Town" is the title cut from the album that he hopes will reintroduce him to music fans, not exactly as a brand new manto borrow a phrase from a song he co-wrote many moons agobut as his own man, with his own songs to sing and his own unique story to tell.
Though the song is about a romantic relationship, metaphorically it suggests another interpretation. "When youre starting out, theres so much fear that if you screw up or put out the wrong record, youve lost that chance to live your dream. At this point in my career, theres a different kind of uncertainty and risk that the people who have seen me perform for 20 years as half of Brooks & Dunn wont be able to see me as anything but that. So in that sense, being new to town would be good to be able to do again."
Kix Brooks career as a musician began long before he came to Nashville, which is less than 100 miles from where the Louisiana native was shipped off for high school at Tennessees Sewanee Military Academy. "I wasnt bad, but I wasnt good," he confesses with a smile. "The discipline was good for me. It gave me structure and problem-solving skills, which are really helpful for creative people."
Kix grew up in a musical family, had his first guitar before he hit his teens, and while in Sewanee, he began playing coffee houses with his roommate, Nashville native Jody Williams. "Jody turned me on to the Opry," expanding the range of country music that kix already loved. "I was a fan of bluegrass, rock and outlaw country, people like Willie, Cash and Roger Miller. I loved the Allman Brothers, Leon Russell, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Asleep at the Wheel, Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker. "
After graduation, he went to Louisiana Tech, gaining a foundational education in reading music and the theory of composition while getting hands-on experience playing clubs around town. Realizing that he wasnt cut out to be in the marching band, school choir, or orchestrawhich were required for a music degreehe switched his major to speech and got into theater, both of which would later serve him well.
A brief sabbatical from school led him to Alaska in 1976, working for his dad, a pipeline contractor. The job was great seed money, he recalls, "So when I got home, I bought a new car, a new guitar, a bottle of whiskey, and I was ready to get back at it. "I had a band and I did some solo stuff. I could bang on a guitar and open up for just about anybody playing clubs in Shreveport. My plan was to be somebody."