Peek Inside Brooks and Dunn’s ‘Kings of Neon’ Exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame
On Thursday (Aug. 8), the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tenn., debuted its Kings of Neon exhibit honoring the career of country music's favorite duo, Brooks & Dunn. The exhibit, which opens to the public on Friday (Aug. 9), contains everything from baby cowboy boots to a full-on racecar, documenting Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn's lives from their early years to their ongoing Las Vegas residency.
In celebration of Kings of Neon, the Hall of Fame held a private ceremony, during which Brooks & Dunn spoke to the crowd and previewed the new exhibit. "We just kind of kept putting one foot in front of the other, figuring out who each other was, trying to get along," Brooks reflected of his and Dunn's career, which includes 20 No. 1 hits.
Brooks admitted of the new exhibit, "It was really mind-boggling to see that in one place." Brooks & Dunn -- who released Reboot, an album featuring reworkings of some of their greatest hits with new country artists, in April -- will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame later this year, and Brooks shared how honored the pair are to soon be immortalized in bronze in the Hall of Fame rotunda, next to icons including Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, whom Brooks has a hard time considering his peers.
"I'm a fan. That's why we dedicate our lives to this," Brooks said. "I'm a country music fan."
Kings of Neon features a lifetime of memorabilia inside its large glass cases. The exhibit begins with childhood photos and short biographies of both Brooks and Dunn, then details how Tim DuBois, in the late 1980s, suggested that the two work together. Next to some of the duo's signature early outfits is a letter of congratulations from Arista Records for their debut record, Brand New Man, and photos of the two with collaborators from early in their career.
The Secret History of Brooks & Dunn's Breakup
Several custom guitars, including a Gisbon Les Paul and a custom Fender gifted to Brooks by Merle Haggard from his collection are on display as well. A selection of Brooks & Dunn's handmade Manuel pieces, which include a black-and-red embroidered blazer and Western shirt, are featured next to handwritten manuscripts for the 2003 hit "Red Dirt Road" and the patriotic anthem "Only in America."
Perhaps most impressively, Brooks & Dunn's awards are all shelved in one place. As the most-awarded country music duo of all time -- the pair have 29 ACM Awards, two Grammy Awards, 17 CMA Awards and more -- the presentation is breathtaking and proves the weight of their impact on country music. It highlights Brooks & Dunn's adaptation and reinvention as they grew as artists and their innovative live show and touring style.
Kings of Neon also details the duo's involvement in Legends car racing in the mid-'90s, and features a hand-painted replica car and racing suits adorned with their signature steer head. The exhibit concludes with items from their Last Rodeo Tour and Las Vegas residency. Readers can get a peek inside in the photo gallery above.
Brooks & Dunn's Kings of Neon exhibit will be on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum until July 19, 2020. The duo will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in October, along with fellow Class of 2019 inductees Ray Stevens and Jerry Bradley.
10 Things You Might Not Know About Brooks & Dunn