Brooks & Dunn, the Academy of Country Music Awards  Brooks & Dunn, the Academy of Country Music Awards 
Kix Brooks, one half of the multi-platinum duo Brooks & Dunn, is one tireless cowboy. After playing the inaugural Stagecoach country-music festival in California on May 6 with partner-in-twang

Ronnie Dunn, Brooks flew back to Nashville early the next day yet still made time to talk to later that morning. We asked the guitar-slinger about scoring seven nominations at tonight's 42nd annual Academy of Country Music Awards (airing at 8 pm/ET, on CBS), which boasts performances by George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, Sugarland and, of course, Brooks & Dunn. Brooks & Dunn have won more ACM awards than any other artist in the Academy's history. Do you ever get tired of winning?
Kix Brooks: Yeah, we're sick of winning. Completely. [Laughs] You don't ever feel embarrassed? Like, "Oh, man, it's us again."
Brooks: It's more, "I can't believe it." When I hear "Brooks & Dunn" [announced] at this point, I'm like, "You're kidding!" There are acts like Rascal Flatts and Kenny Chesney who are really catching the wave right now, so the practical side of me thinks it's time for them to get their due. But it's very humbling for them to give us yet one more pat on the back. You and Ronnie are up for seven awards. After so many records sold and so much success, where do you get your inspiration from now?
Brooks: Same as always. [You can be] sitting in a club and somebody will say something clever. Or you'll hear something on the news. Or it could be something your kids tell you. You just keep your eyes and ears open. I've always said one of the quietest tables in the world is a bunch of songwriters at lunch, because everybody's afraid to say something clever that someone else will [steal]! [Laughs] You rip each other off.
Brooks: Absolutely! [Laughs] Everybody's looking for the next big catchphrase. Reba McEntire is hosting the ACMs, but you and Ronnie have also worked as hosts, emceeing the CMA Awards three times. Did you enjoy that gig?
Brooks: It's something fun to have done, but I'd be surprised if Ronnie and I continue to do the CMAs. I don't think hosting an awards show is necessarily for [us]. I think it's a little easier for one person than two sometimes. [Laughs] You two are also receiving a special humanitarian award at the ACMs. Is charity work a big part of your year?
Brooks: It's part of our daily routine when we're on the road. And [organizations like the Make-a-Wish Foundation] make it so easy for you. They find these kids and get them to the show. It's a little embarrassing, because all we do is walk in behind them, do a little shake 'n bake and play a little music. I say this sometimes — and people take it the wrong way — but I kind of do [charity work] for selfish reasons, in that it really does make me feel good. Does it ever surprise you how popular country music has become? I mean, there are even Brooks & Dunn ringtones now.
Brooks: It does, and it doesn't. Without getting too philosophical, you look at the history of country music and it's always been cyclical. Ronnie and I came up in the middle of the whole Garth [Brooks] infusion in the '90s. We had an album that sold 10 million units, like [rap artist] 50 Cent and them are doing [Laughs], and then it slowed down. But I feel like here it comes again, with Kenny and Flatts and Carrie Underwood. The kids come along and discover it, just like we discovered Waylon and Willie when we were starting to play.

Send your comments on this Q&A to