Red Dirt Road

Album: Red Dirt Road (2003)
Charted: 25

Songfacts®:

  • This was a rare co-writing collaboration between the Brooks & Dunn duo. 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!'"

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