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Brooks & Dunn tribute concert to air Sunday night

More than a dozen top country music performers are saddling up to honor Brooks & Dunn during their “Last Rodeo.”

Fans and fellow stars alike will bid farewell to the best-selling duo in musical history with the premiere of the TV special “ACM Presents: Brooks & Dunn — The Last Rodeo” at 7 p.m. Sunday on CBS.

Last year, former Tulsan Ronnie Dunn and Louisiana native Kix Brooks announced plans to end their two-decade musical partnership after touring this summer. “The Last Rodeo Tour” includes a May 28 show at the BOK Center in Tulsa, where Dunn migrated after college and became one of the hottest artists on the competitive Oklahoma club scene.

Oklahomans Reba McEntire, Joe Don Rooney of Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert joined fellow music luminaries including George Strait, Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum and Jennifer Hudson in paying tribute to Brooks & Dunn at the all-star concert. The show was recorded April 19, the day after the Academy of Country Music Awards, in Las Vegas.

“It’s awesome. I love Brooks & Dunn; I’ve always been a fan. When they asked me to sing, I thought that would be so cool,” Lambert, who lives in Tishomingo, said in a recent phone interview.

The TV special will pay homage to Brooks & Dunn’s career milestones, musical legacy and even their practical jokes on tourmates. Dunn, who was born in Texas, and Brooks, who hails from Shreveport, were solo artists until Oklahoma native Tim DuBois, then head of the Arista Nashville label, paired them as a duo and tasked them with writing a song together. In one day, the new partners penned “Brand New Man” and “My Next Broken Heart,” two of the four No. 1 hits on their 1991 debut album.

With Dunn typically providing the warm lead vocals and Brooks playing guitar and showman, the twosome went on to sell more than 30 million albums and score 23 No. 1 hits. The stars featured in Sunday’s TV special were invited to perform one of the duo’s hits that has special meaning to them.

Lambert chose the rollicking “Hillbilly Deluxe,” Underwood selected the mournful “Neon Moon,” and McEntire, a longtime friend and frequent duet partner of the duo, opted for the ballad “Indian Summer.” Lady Antebellum singers Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley also persuaded Dunn and McEntire to join them onstage for a rendition of the hit duet “If You See Him/If You See Her.”

In anticipation of Sunday’s special, McEntire and Brooks & Dunn will sing their smash collaboration “Cowgirls Don’t Cry” tonight on “The Late Show with David Letterman.” Letterman airs at 10:35 p.m. on CBS.

Ticket sales to the all-star tribute concert benefited ACM Lifting Lives, the charitable arm of the Academy of Country Music, which has since earmarked the funds to help victims of this month’s severe floods in Tennessee.

Brooks & Dunn will join Underwood, Lambert, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and more at the June 22 “Nashville Rising: A Benefit Concert for Flood Recovery” at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville before ending their tour and partnership Aug. 10 at the same venue.

“I think that we’re gonna really miss them, some great songs and one of the most amazing vocalists in our genre ever. So it’s a huge honor to be able to sing one of their songs in front of them, just to honor them,” Lambert said.

Courtesy of the Associated Press and

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