RUSTON, La. (KNOE) - One half of the biggest-selling duo in country music is from North Louisiana. Kix Brooks, of Brooks and Dunn fame, born in Shreveport and graduated from Louisiana Tech.
The song “Red Dirt Road” was a number one hit for the country duo Brooks and Dunn in 2003. The song birthed out of Dunn’s brief time during high school in El Dorado, Arkansas, and Brooks’ time growing up in north Louisiana. Kix Brooks says he got his foundation for his musical career while at Louisiana Tech.
“I was really wanting to be a musician with an education. I had dreams of going to Nashville and I didn't want to wind up in a studio and feel stupid just banging on a guitar like everybody else,” said Brooks.
He was born Leon Eric Brooks in Shreveport, but his mom nicknamed him 'Kicks' before he left the womb, for obvious reasons, laughed Brooks. The Grammy winner is now an ‘artist in residence” at his alma mater. He’s donated some of his belongings from music videos and clothing worn on stage. A bloodied (fake) shirt is from the Brooks and Dunn music video "South of Santa Fe" and another shirt is from a performance he did with ZZ Top during a Crossroads show for CMT.
Brooks has another reason to return to northeast Louisiana. He still owns farmland in Franklin Parish.
"My family has been farming there since 1807. Corn primarily but was cotton forever in Fort Necessity, 14 miles from Winnsboro,” said Brooks.
Brooks also spent time with a music writing class while visiting the campus. Brooks and Dunn had 20 number one hits before disbanding in 2010. Brooks was actually making a living as a songwriter before pairing up with Ronnie Dunn as an artist and songwriter.
“We never thought we'd go two years much less 20 years,” said Brooks, still surprised at the duo's success.
Kix says he loves coming back to visit Louisiana Tech. But with a crazy schedule plus running a winery just south of Nashville, getting back to his roots is often hard to do. But he’s glad to at least leave pieces of himself behind the glass cases at Howard Auditorium if for no other reason than to remind students a dream has to start somewhere and his started on these red dirt roads and the campus of Louisiana Tech University.
“I owe a lot to this school and the way that it helped me to grow up. The fun that I had and the social life but also in the education,” said Brooks.
Dunn has also gotten into the movie-making business. Spending time in front of the camera and behind the camera. And he hosts the American Country Countdown weekly radio show which airs on more than one thousand radio stations.