July 22.2015 – Story Behind “Red Dirt Road” by Brooks and Dunn

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This was a rare co-writing collaboration between the Brooks and Dunn. Most of their songs were either penned by just one of the pair or by outside writers. Ronnie Dunn told American Songwriter magazine how the duo wrote this song that recounts some of his adolescent memories. “I remember it was after a show, and Kix stepped up on the bus,” he recalled. “The bus was running and getting ready to leave. He stepped up in the door well of the bus, and was sitting at the table. I had wanted to take… this happens a lot, we’d get a record finished, and I wanted to reel everything into a concept or kind of hang a stamp on it. I thought we needed something like ‘Red Dirt Road.’ Use that as the title.”

The concept Dunn had in mind was the red dirt road, in Arkansas that he, his cousins and the rest of his family used to live on. It was a four-mile dirt track that led from the East Main highway out of El Dorado down to his cousin’s farm.

Dunn then told Brooks about different experiences he had growing up there such as receiving Jesus Christ in his life when an evangelist came to their local church and getting drunk whilst camping out. “I said, ‘that’s where I first met Jesus,” he recalled. “That’s where I wrecked my first car,” which I did. We had the chorus written before we left. ‘Somebody goes hey we’re rolling,’ because we had a long, long drive. I don’t remember where it was to.”

By the time they’d reached their destination Brooks had completed the song. Dunn recalled: “I remember Kix walking off of his bus as we were walking across the parking lot. He just looked like he’d been through the wringer. He wrote the verses to it. He played it, took us up on the bus. He was just beat man, like he’d been up for two days. He really plowed into it. He played it and I went, ‘Shoot! You want to arm wrestle over who sings this?’ He goes, ‘No man.’ I thought, ”My God!'”

LYRICS: Written by Ronnie Dunn and Kix Brooks
I was raised off of old Route 3
Out past where the blacktop ends
We’d walked to church on Sunday morning
Race barefoot back to the Johnson’s fence
That’s where I first saw Mary
On that roadside pickin’ blackberries
That summer I turned a corner in my soul
Down that red dirt road

It’s where I drank my first beer
It’s where I found Jesus
Where I wrecked my first car
I tore it all to pieces
I learned the path to heaven is full of sinners and believers
Learned that happiness on earth ain’t just for high achievers
I’ve learned I’ve come to know
There’s life at both ends
Of that red dirt road

Her daddy didn’t like me much
With my shackled up GTO
I’d sneak out in the middle of the night
Throw rocks at her bedroom window
We’d turn out the headlights
Drive by the moonlight
Talk about what the future might hold
Down a red dirt road

I went out into the world, and I came back in
I lost Mary, oh I got her back again
And driving home tonight feels like I’ve found a long lost friend

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About Robynn

Robynn Jaymes has spent her whole life in radio… 30 years!! And almost half of them have been at Star Country. Originally from Cincinnati, Robynn came to the area as a Liberty University student. Along with all things country music, Robynn is a big fan of Football!—The Virginia Tech Hokies, The Washington Redskins and, of course, the Cincinnati Bengals. And also, “I’m addicted to the Weather Channel,” she says. Right now, Robynn is a big fan if the music coming from Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum and Kenny Chesney! Robynn is also a winner of the Billboard Air Personality of the Year award. Hear all new Warm & Fuzzies with Robynn M-F at 11:45AM!

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