Charlie Crowe's Nashville Chronicles: Back with Brooks & Dunn

Just before Christmas 2014, Brooks & Dunn and Reba McEntire announced a dual Las Vegas residency at Caesar’s Palace for the summer 2015.
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Just before Christmas 2014, Brooks & Dunn and Reba McEntire announced a dual Las Vegas residency at Caesar’s Palace for the summer 2015. Throughout my guitartech gig during Miranda Lambert’s winter tour, I got the occasional, “Are you going back with them?” I always answered, “I don’t know. I’m happy here with you guys.”

But just before the Academy of Country Music Awards that year, Kix Brooks emails me and asks if I’d join Brooks & Dunn for the ACM gig. How do I say “no” to that? I reply, “I’ll be there working with Miranda, but the two performances are far enough apart where I can take care of her guitar player and still have time to suit up for you guys.” When the ACMs roll around, I’m probably the only guy in the history of awards shows to be a backstage tech for one headlining act and an onstage performer with another. Miranda is very cool and supportive—though she asks, “Am I losing you to Vegas?”

After the ACM smoke cleared, Kix called me onto his bus, and says I’ve made the cut for Vegas, and I’m also being hired to play in Reba’s band for ten dates without B&D. Thankfully, Miranda is pretty much done for the year, and she graciously allows me to hire a substitute guitar tech in order to gig with B&D/Reba and maintain my gig with her. When the bus rolls back into Nashville, I rush home, kiss the family, and get into grindstone guitar mode. I have two weeks to brush up on 90 minutes of B&D material and also learn 90 minutes of Reba’s songs.

I feel a second act has been gifted from the show-biz cosmos, and I plan to hang on tooth and nail until my fingers stop moving. I currently have the best of both worlds. Two years ago, I thought my run was over. Now, I’m either backin’ the stars or tuning their guitars. Crazy.

By the way, that former guitar tech for Eddie Van Halen who I beat out for the Miranda gig? He’s now my tech for the Reba/B&D gig. Deep down, he probably wants to kill me.

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