Kix Brooks couldn’t sound more comfortable with his new life as a solo artist. After 20 years as half of Brooks and Dunn, the ‘New to This Town’ singer is set to release a new album on Sept. 11 — his first without Ronnie Dunn since 1989. Yet during an interview with Taste of Country Nights‘ host Jeremy Robinson, Brooks was relaxed — playful even — as he talked about the new tour, music and the embarrassing songs on his iPod.

The man beneath the stiff black cowboy hat has a diverse set of interests, and wasn’t shy to talk about some of the stranger ones. He also shared the story of how he got into wine making, and how he convinced Eagles‘ guitarist Joe Walsh to play along on his new single.

Jeremy Robinson: ‘New to This Town’ is on the radio right now and people are loving it. It sounds like you had a little fun with Joe Walsh on that record.

Kix Brooks: Probably not as much as I would have liked to, because we really didn’t get to hook up in the same studio together. I had met Joe out touring with Kenny Chesney doing the stadium tours, he came out for a couple of days and I just ghermed the heck out of him, he’s like my favorite guitar player. I had actually gotten done with this record and was in here at the countdown show (American Country Countdown) listening to it and Lonny said, “That really needs some Joe Walsh sounding slide on it.” And I said, “You know there’s only one guy that really does that.” So I wound up sending him a copy of the song and he called me back and said he wanted to play on it, and he was in the middle of rehearsals (with Paul McCartney at the Grammys), and I was trying to get the record turned in… so it’s like, “Joe, I know I’m begging you to do this, but could I have it yesterday?”

JR: How do you write songs? In your pajamas, in your bathroom … how do you do it?

KB: [laughs] I wish I knew how I did it — I’d write a lot more of them [laughs]. That particular song … I had a writing engagement set up with Terry McBride and Marv Green, two of my old friends. I had kinda canceled most of my writing sessions cause I was just trying to wrap up and get the recording all finished. And I said, “Man I just miss those guys.” So we went ahead and sat down and Marv had that idea ‘New to This Town’ and I just loved it and kind of threw a little melody line in there with it. Before we knew it we were off to the races. Over at my house, I’ve got a little guest house where we holed up, and that was one of those days where we just sat around and were talking about stuff — and next thing you know, you got a good song going.

JR: A lot of people know, but a lot of people don’t know that you are a wine aficionado.

KB: I am in the wine business and yeah we’re having a lot of fun with that. I love wine, and about 10 years ago I hooked up with a couple of buds and we decided to start a winery and one of them is a great wine maker. And we put some grapes in the ground and we’ll probably sell close to 20,000 cases this year.

JR: Now, do you actually get out there and stomp the grapes yourself?

KB: [laughs] No. Nor does anybody else. I don’t even want pretty feet in my grape juice. We have sterilized machines. When you drink our wine you know nobody’s been walking around in it.

JR: I have a few rapid fire questions for you, if that’s cool?

KB: Sure.

JR: No. 1: Most embarrassing song that’s on your iPod.

KB: Golly, that’s a good question … every now and then I’ll go download stuff I don’t know just because it’s at the top of the Billboard chart and I think I should educate myself. And I did download the whole ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ soundtrack. You know how you got your iPod on shuffle. And I’ll be going along listening to Guy Clark and Joe Walsh and stuff … and all of a sudden some bizarre hip-hop nonsense will come on and I’m like “What in the world?”

JR: So you cut your mustache last year for a movie role, will you ever do that again?

KB: I might. It didn’t really freak me out. In fact, I almost left it off. My wife was kind of like, “Ehh… why don’t you grow it back?”

JR: What is your favorite thing to eat?

KB: I would probably say tuna fish sandwich with jalapeños, which I’m fixin’ to have as soon as we’re done.

JR: Do you eat chips with it?

KB: Yeah, jalapeño chips as well. Load it up.

JR: What time is your bedtime?

KB: Every night I would say around 10, but if I’m tour obviously 1 or 2AM.

JR: What time to you get up?

KB: I’m pretty much up at 6 o’clock in the morning, whether I’m on tour or not. I get up and have a couple of cups of coffee … and I’ll take a nap in the morning a lot of times, because coffee makes me tired.

JR: You are back on the tour circuit, are you excited about that?

KB: I am. I’ve been touring pretty much all year, but really touring heavy now. We’re going all the time. Seriously you would expect me to say this, but I really do have the best band that I have ever had. It is just honkin’ out there and I look forward to walking up those steps to the stage.

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