On This Date: Brooks & Dunn Topped The Charts With “Red Dirt Road” Back In 2003

Brooks and Dunn country music
Brooks & Dunn

The title track for the album Red Dirt Road. 

Brooks & Dunn have numerous hits under their belt, but this one is a classic.

Released in 2003, “Red Dirt Road” scored the country duo their eighteenth number-one hit on the Billboard Hot Country chart and landed in the top twenty-five of the inclusive genre Hot 100 chart. On top of those accolades, the single is also listed as one of the top overall hits for 2003.

Brooks and Dunn got the idea for a song while they were putting around on their bus in 2002 when Dunn mentioned some fond childhood memories.

He posed the idea for titling the album Red Dirt Road, which in turn led to the curation of the single.

“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. It was the red dirt road in Arkansas that my cousins and all of us lived on. It led from Rural Route Three, East Main highway out of El Dorado, down to my cousin’s farm.

Well, it was about four miles long, but there were only two houses along the way. It was literally a dirt road that would get washed out come big rains and such. But we grew up on that road. That was where it all went down. I remember going to church with them one day. They’d come pick me up. Some evangelist was there, we were getting saved as kids.

It represented all of us.

At the same time we’d go camp out and get drunk. We’d get someone to buy us beer. We did it all So we started talking about it. I said, “that’s where I first met Jesus. 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.”

Ronnie Dunn recalled in an interview.

The song’s narrator fondly reflects on the time spent growing up in a rural town and the memories associated with the time spent on that red dirt road.

“It’s where I drank my first beerIt’s where I found JesusWhere I wrecked my first carI tore it all to piecesI learned the path to HeavenIs full of sinners and believersLearned that happiness on EarthAin’t just for high achievers (I learned)I’ve come to know there’s life at both endsOf that red dirt road.”

As their two hometowns are Shreveport, Louisiana, and El Dorado, Arkansas, they both come from small towns and grew up living a simple life filled with small but cherishable memories.

Even if you didn’t grow up on a red dirt road, this song is relatable to all childhood memories–  getting into a bit of trouble while putting on a prim and proper front, love and heartbreak, and all of the hometown landmarks that remind you of those times.

The song is highly loved by fans, which is why the duo brought back the single for their 2019 album Reboot, featuring Cody Johnson.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock