(Yahoo!) - When asked why it's taken as long as it has for Kix Brooks--formerly one-half of the mega-successful country duo Brooks & Dunn--to put out a solo record, Brooks explains it simply: "I had an awful lot of other things I wanted to do."
Indeed, he did. And indeed he did them--with two of the main ones on the list having nothing to do with his former career at all. Having been a theater major in college, the singer explored this field by appearing in two independent movies (and says he'd love to do more acting). Brooks also indulged a personal passion in a big way: He founded his own winery, Arrington Vineyards, in Nashville. The winery opened in 2007, three years before Brooks & Dunn embarked on their final farewell tour, but has since grown into an area attraction that stands independent of mere fan curiosity, selling 15,000 cases a year.
Brooks is happy to discuss his film work and, especially, his winery--he told us exactly how Rose wine is made, and which varieties he likes to recommend to visitors--but he's also excited to discuss his solo debut, which has finally come out this month. New To This Town debuts a full year after former musical partner Ronnie Dunn's own solo set, and it's clear that Brooks has had a lot of fun with the extra time he took. The lead single (same title as the album) is particularly poignant, describing a man who'd love to see his town and the people in it with fresh eyes, but can't because of his history.
When asked if this tune is metaphorical in a way for his solo career, Brooks is noncommittal, but he's excited as a little kid on Christmas to talk about a special guest on the song.
"It's funny because I really thought this album was finished," he relates. "But then my engineer comes in--he's a big slide guitar player--and says 'man that's a good-sounding record...maybe if you had some like Joe Walsh-sounding slide on there. And I said 'I hate to say it but that's a good idea!'"
Brooks, who knew Walsh via touring and their respective managers, decided to contact the Eagles legend to see what he thought. "I just sent him a copy of the song, what I had, and he calls me back in about 10 minutes: "Dude! I love this! I wanna play on your record!' And I'm like, you're kidding!"
Walsh definitely was not kidding, and in fact delivered sound files within 24 hours. Unbelievable? Brooks laughs--it's all true. (Guess there are some perks to not being new to this town!)
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