It broke my hillbilly heart to learn that country music crooners Brooks & Dunn announced on their website yesterday that, after 20 years, they're hanging up their spurs. 

Is their music cutting edge? Nah. Alt country? Nope. They are as mainstream as modern country gets, but they produced some damn catchy tunes and had an impressive run. As noted on Wikipedia:

The duo made its debut in 1991 with their first four singles all reaching the top of the U.S. Billboard country music charts. Their debut album, Brand New Man, was released the same year and was certified 6x platinum by the RIAA. Brooks & Dunn have had more than forty singles on the country music charts, twenty of which have reached number one. They have recorded ten studio albums, two greatest-hits compilations, and a Christmas album.

Among my favorites has always been "Neon Moon," the third hit off Brand New Man, which topped the country charts during my senior year of college. During that period, for reasons I will not bore you with other than to say there was a man involved, I wound up spending a chunk of time in a tiny Texas town just south of Ft. Worth, whose nightlife back then consisted of a peculiar German restaurant and a honky-tonkish bar, the name of which I cannot recall for the life of me. No matter: The beer flowed freely, the music was loud, and at any given moment scores of patrons would take to the dance floor for line dancing. The fact that I suck at line dancing never stopped me.  

As so often happens, my affection for the man in question did not endure. My affection and nostalgia for certain country musicians, however, did--Brooks & Dunn firmly among them. 

And on that note:

--Michelle Cottle