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The men of Trick Pony made our list of the hottest country stars

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HOMETOWNS Atlanta & Raleigh, N.C. (respectively)

RECENT RELEASE ”Trick Pony” (2001)

WHY THEM As members of the trio Trick Pony (with singer Heidi Newfield), Burns and Dean are hardly an overnight success: Guitarist Burns (pictured, top) was in Joe Diffie’s band and bassist Dean was playing with Tanya Tucker before they formed Trick Pony in 1996. They performed on the honky-tonk circuit without a record deal for four years. But their diligence paid off last year with three Billboard Top 10 singles from their eponymous debut (including the Billboard country No. 1 song ”On a Night Like This”). They also were named best new country group at the Academy of Country Music Awards and the American Music Awards.

WHAT’S HOT Burns in tight tees, a cowboy hat, and a permanent five o’clock shadow; Dean in floppy hats and shiny shirts — it’s like the Marlboro Man meets P-Funk.

WHAT’S NOT Dean can get too much of a glittery thing — and how does Burns move in those tight jeans?

WHAT’S NEXT Trick Pony will continue to tour as part of the Brooks & Dunn Neon Circus and Wild West Show (the best-selling country tour of the summer) through the end of this month, then at smaller venues through 2002.