By John Benson
‘The Adventures of Slim and Howdy’ is divided into short chapters for easy reading.
After 15 years of playing country anthems, the “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” duo Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn are venturing into the literary world with their debut novel, “The Adventures of Slim and Howdy.”
Die-hard fans may recognize the characters of Slim and Howdy from the album liner notes in all Brooks Dunn albums. The twosome started telling tales in earnest on their 1991 debut “Brand New Man,” but it wasn’t until a few albums later that Brooks Dunn created their alter egos, Slim (Dunn) and Howdy (Brooks).
Though talked about for years, the book, which is divided into short chapters for easy — perhaps bathroom — reading, is finally in stores.
“I call it a bedside table [book], but you can read it in the bathroom too,” said Brooks, calling from Nashville. “I sort of enjoy books like that because I don’t tend to read books very long before I fall asleep at night. So I like short ones, and if you want turn to the next chapter, it’s not like you have eight pages in front of you.”
As for the content, Brooks said they were interested in creating more of a “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” kind of mature vibe over, say, a wacky or silly “Dukes of Hazzard” feel.
“At one point it was funny, there’s a part in the book where they lose their heroine and they find what they think is her but she’s got a mask on and is in a dominatrix situation,” Brooks said. “That came from Ronnie. He said, ‘Man, think “Pulp Fiction.” We don’t want to be R-rated but can’t we get a little bit more grown-up?’”
Albumwise, Brooks & Dunn is still touring its 2007 effort, “Cowboy Town,” which has produced charting singles “Proud of the House We Built,” “God Must Be Busy” and “Put a Girl in I.” Though not a concept album, the disc does possess a certain mind-set that goes beyond cowboy boots and Wrangler jeans.
“I think ‘Cowboy Town’ does have a sense of place, and touring it has its own ‘Cowboy Town’ theme,” Brooks said. “And that doesn’t mean wild west or old west. We think a cowboy is more an attitude. Or, if you’re a badass and winging it, a stockbroker can be a cowboy. It’s just sort of that shoot-from-the-hip kind of thing.”
Shooting from the hip is what Brooks & Dunn will be doing this summer on its own headlining tour, which comes to Northeast Ohio for a Sunday show at Blossom Music Center.
Having toured for years on its own mini-music festival called Neon Circus and then last year on the gigantic Kenny Chesney stadium tour, Brooks & Dunn is scaling back with a set promised to be filled with older material that hasn’t been played in recent times.