Luke Bryan: Brooks & Dunn Stepped Up When He Needed Support
It may be difficult to believe that anything could cause stage fright for seasoned country entertainer Luke Bryan, but the singer admitted to feeling some nerves as he was soundchecking for his Sunday evening (Oct. 20) performance at the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Bryan was among the artists scheduled to play during the annual Medallion Ceremony to celebrate Brooks & Dunn, one of 2019's inductees into the Hall of Fame. Before his rendition of the duo's classic "Red Dirt Road," Bryan took a moment at the microphone to recount his personal friendship with Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn, and share his perspective on what makes them not only incredible musicians, but incredible people.
Back in 2007, when Bryan's career was just getting started, he suffered an unimaginable personal setback when his sister unexpectedly died. Shortly thereafter, the singer recalled from stage, he was sitting on a plane, waiting to take off en route to his next radio tour stop. His phone rang, and a number he didn't recognize showed up.
"And I picked it up, and it was Kix Brooks on the phone, just telling me he was sorry about our loss," Bryan continued. "And I never will forget it. What an amazing gesture. I hung the phone up and called my whole family, and we were just amazed at that gesture."
That wasn't the last time a Brooks & Dunn bandmate extended a hand to help Bryan at a critical juncture in his career, however. "A few years after that, I get going. I'm out on the road, and I'm losing my voice every night. I can't sing," Bryan recalled. "I called my buddy [Live Nation President of Country Touring] Brian O'Connell and said, 'Brian, I need some advice from a singer of some sort.' And he goes, 'You want me to get Ronnie on the phone?' I said, 'Ronnie Dunn?'
"He goes, 'Yeah, he'll talk to you,'" Bryan continued. "I called Ronnie, in South Florida, and he spent 35 minutes on the phone with me, telling me probably what I was doing wrong, and what I was doing right."
The experience taught Bryan that not only were Brooks & Dunn exceptional, iconic musicians, but that they embody the spirit of the country music genre on a personal level, too. "That's what country music is all about. That's just what it's all about, and I can't thank you guys enough for those moments," Bryan concluded before launching into his performance.
In addition to Bryan, a host of country performers turned out to celebrate Brooks & Dunn and 2019's two other Hall of Fame inductees, Ray Stevens and Jerry Bradley. Trisha Yearwood, Brothers Osborne, Yola, Travis Tritt and Marty Stuart were just a few of the performers who took the stage in celebration of the incoming class of Hall of Fame members.
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