by: Brooks & Dunn

Brooks & Dunn sat out much of the 2010s, playing a few shows in Vegas during the middle of the decade but otherwise sticking to the retirement they announced in 2009. Delivered a decade later, Reboot eases the duo back into active duty, pairing Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn with 12 young stars. The idea is to emphasize the connection between Brooks & Dunn and the new generation, a gambit that often pays off. Luke Combs -- the singer whose B&D fandom helped get this project off the ground -- eases in between Brooks & Dunn on "Brand New Man," Brothers Osborne pound "Hard Workin' Man" into the ground, Jon Pardi ties "My Next Broken Heart" tightly to its hardcore honky tonk roots, and Midland turns in a swinging version of "Boot Scootin' Boogie." Reboot sounds a little uneasy whenever Brooks & Dunn venture outside of this rockin' country wheelhouse. While Kacey Musgraves successfully shapes "Neon Moon" to her Golden Hour contours, Brett Young dissipates on an overly slick "Ain't Nothing About You," the drum loops on Thomas Rhett's version of "My Maria" rob the tune of its ramshackle charm, and Kane Brown disappears into the smooth surroundings of "Believe." These cuts aren't stumbles as much as confirmation that Brooks & Dunn may be a tad too old to learn new tricks, but the rest of Reboot proves that they're still adept at sounding big and burly nearly 30 years after their debut. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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