Country Music Hall of Famers, Brooks & Dunn, get the all-star collaboration treatment with a record of re-dos, Reboot. Much like many Hollywood cinematic reboots, the results are sometimes hit of miss. Brooks & Dunn sound just fine throughout, as these songs are already overly familiar territory, but a few of these musical matches just don’t quite match up. Nevertheless, these songs are all so good that --- although they may take a licking – they just keep on ticking.
The album’s biggest misstep comes early with track two, where Brett Young helps to bleed nearly all the sexuality out of the originally lusty “Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You.” It even features a yacht-rocky saxophone solo. Although not quite as grievous, the electronically burbling “Neon Moon” fails to successfully sonically update a lovely country ballad. It’s the first time Golden Hour girl Kacey Musgraves may have lost her golden touch.
The winners outweigh the few losers on this album, though, by a country mile. “Hard Workin’ Man,” with its gutsy ZZ Top rock groove, fits right into Brothers Osborne’s sweet spot. Similarly, Luke Combs vocal power gives “Brand New Man” an extra boost. Elsewhere, “My Next Broken Heart” works so well because it sounds a whole lot like many of Jon Pardi’s own hits. The same can be said of Midland’s collaboration on “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” which shines with plenty of slide guitar, fiddle and honky tonk piano. It’s also nice to hear Kane Brown singing over a gentle arrangement for a change on “Believe.”
Two of the album’s better contributions are also a few of its quietest moments. “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone,” with Ashley McBryde’s feminine counterpoint, is beautifully heart(broken)felt. Best of the bunch, though, is Cody Johnson’s introspective input on “Red Dirt Road.” Originally, this song’s an upbeat anthem, but here it’s both thoughtful and thought provoking. It’s built upon a relatively minimalist, mostly acoustic arrangement, and it may make you see this song’s lyrics in a whole new light.
Much like seeing an extremely popular act in concert for the first time, where you never before realized how many hits they’ve had, this album is welcome reminder of Brooks & Dunn’s recorded legacy. The duo didn’t really need to make their case for the Country Music Hall of Fame, but this sincere tribute ought to dispel any remaining doubts.