Red Dirt Road
As soon as you hear the archetypal Keith Richards riff that rips open the beginning of Red Dirt Road, you know that Brooks & Dunn intend to kick out the jams on their ninth album. After tearing through the Stones influence that is used to such great effect on "You Can't Take the Honky Tonk Out of the Girl," the band shows it can muster a sleazy roadhouse shuffle worthy of ZZ Top in "Good Cowboy." But it's the spirit of Springsteen that runs deepest on Red Dirt Road, not only in the cast of small-town characters searching for highway-born freedom, but in the pulse of organs and acoustic guitars that give the album its warm, full sound. The album's best moments come on the loose-limbed sanctified gospel of "I Used to Know This Song By Heart" and "Holy War," and the horn-tinged tearjerker "Believer." This is a group that grew up on church-bred R&B as much as rock 'n' roll. If you only listen to Brooks & Dunn for their line-dance hits, you are missing out. On the other hand, even the honky tonk diehards will go home happy with the rollicking "My Baby's Everything I Love," which captures the sound of a perfect jukebox Saturday night.