Ronnie Dunn and Kix Brooks (Brooks & Dunn) during 29th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at Universal Amphitheatre in Universal City, California, United States.
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

'Brand New Man': Ronnie Dunn Tells the Story Behind Brooks & Dunn's Fast-Driving Debut


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As the debut single and title track from Brooks & Dunn's first album, 1991 country chart-topper "Brand New Man" set an incredibly high --and repeatedly cleared-- bar for one of the genre's most revered duos. Beyond its immediate impact on the lives of two Country Music Hall of Famers, the song still inspires '90s kids with dreams of infiltrating the country airwaves with honky tonk attitude and rock 'n' roll flair.

Arista Records strategically selected "Brand New Man" as Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn's introduction to the burgeoning '90s country audience ahead of the three No. 1s that followed it: "My Next Broken Heart," "Neon Moon" and line dancing standard "Boot Scootin' Boogie."

"[Tim DuBois of Arista Records Nashville] said he was afraid of 'Boot Scoot' at the time," Dunn told Wide Open Country. "It was too progressive, according to Tim. Didn't want to come with 'Neon Moon' which was a ballad. A shuffle like 'My Next Broken Heart' was going to be hard to sell to radio, so we came with 'Brand New Man.'"

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Fittingly, it's the first fruits from Brooks and Dunn's initial songwriting session with their co-writer and the song's co-producer, Don Cook.

"I had already written 'Neon Moon' and 'Boot Scoot'," Dunn explained. "Then Tim DuBois along with Clive [Davis] was putting the label together and asked us to co-write. I think just to test the waters to see if we could. I had this song idea called 'I'm a Changed Man.' Nothing beyond that. I just knew I was going to write the next day with Kix and Don. Then Kix goes, 'How about 'Brand New Man'?' I said, 'Okay, let's go there and see what happens.' So we wrote it, recorded it the next day."

Brooks & Dunn instantly fit right in at a time when the likes of Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt, Clint Black, Garth Brooks and Lorrie Morgan had already pushed country music forward while being mindful of its roots. Still, "Brand New Man" was different enough to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

"We started where most songs don't by doing the chorus first," Dunn added. "That doesn't happen much, so it kind of comes strong out of the box at you."

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"Brand New Man" got pushed back to the forefront twice in 2019. First, Blake Shelton hat-tipped its chorus in his own revved-up disruption of the status quo, "God's Country." Later on, Luke Combs joined Brooks & Dunn on a new version for the duo's collaborative album, Reboot.

Brooks & Dunn kept its initial momentum going for the rest of the decade. The singles off the album Brand New Man (No. 6 hit "Lost and Found" included) began a run of 26 straight Top 15 entries that lasted through 1999's "I Can't Get Over You."

READ MORE: Faith Hill's 'Mississippi Girl': The 'Coal Miner's Daughter' of the 21st Century

"Brand New Man" Lyrics

I saw the light, I've been baptized
By the fire in your touch and the flame in your eyes
I'm born to love again
I'm a brand new man

Well, the whole town's talkin'
'Bout the line I'm walkin'
That leads right to your door
Oh, how I used to roam
I was a rolling stone
I used to have a wild side
They say a country mile wide
I'd burn those beer joints down
That's all changed now
You turned my life around

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Oh, I saw the light, I've been baptized
By the fire in your touch and the flame in your eyes
I'm born to love again
I'm a brand new man

I used to love 'em and leave 'em
Oh, I'd brag about my freedom
How no one could tie me down
Then I met you
Now my heart beats true
Baby, you and me together
Feels more like forever
Than anything I've ever known
We're right on track
I ain't lookin' back

Yeah, I saw the light, I've been baptized
By the fire in your touch and the flame in your eyes
I'm born to love again
I'm a brand new man

Oh, I saw the light, I've been baptized
By the fire in your touch and the flame in your eyes
I'm born to love again
I'm a brand new man

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Yeah, I saw the light, I've been baptized
By the fire in your touch and the flame in your eyes
I'm born to love again
I'm a brand new man

Yeah, I'm born to love again
I'm a brand new man

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