Grahm's Guide
to Music Video Locations

Brooks & Dunn - "My Maria" (1996) Filming Locations


The Video

     “My Maria” pulled double duty as both the first track and the lead single for Brooks & Dunn's 1996 album Borderline, but the duo was initially hesitant to record it, because it was a “cover song.”
     Back in 1973, Texan B.W. Stevenson’s single “Shambala” was eclipsed by the Three Dog Night version of the song.  Stevenson got together with that song’s writer, Daniel Moore, and they finished “My Maria,” a song with echoes of "Shambala."  Stevenson’s version of “My Maria” became a Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

     Twenty years later, producer Don Cook suggested that Brooks & Dunn record the tuneKix Brooks was receptive, but Ronnie Dunn resisted because the pair hadn’t had any cover songs on their three previous Multi-Platinum™ albums.  Some encouragement from the record label’s president helped settle the matter, and the two recorded the song.  The single release was accompanied by a video directed by Michael Oblowitz.


The Locations

     The video for "My Maria" was filmed in the Big Bend region of Texas.
     If you have any tips on locations that I missed, please contact me on the Grahm's Guide Facebook page.


...Somewhere on The Borderline...
     A view from high above a river flowing through a desert valley sets the stage for what's to come, as text indicates the action is taking place “...Somewhere on The Borderline....”
     Exclusive: The shot actually is a view of the Rio Grande on the border between the U.S. and Mexico.  The view is from a scenic overlook on Farm to Market Road (FM) 170, near Redford, TX.
     Reference: This is one of those times when I took a picture, and only later realized that it was of a filming location, because I hadn't found anything about the location before my 2015 trip to the area.

The Borderline from "My Maria," as seen in July 2015

The Borderline from "My Maria," as seen in July 2015


The Village
     A cowboy (Kix Brooks) searches for a beautiful woman along the border river and in a small village nearby.  A singer (Ronnie Dunn) is later seen in front of an adobe church in the village.
     The village was a really a movie set called Contrabando, which was initially constructed for Uphill All the Way (1986).  Since "My Maria" was filmed, Rio Grande flooding had damaged many of the structures, and most of the buildings have since been demolished.  When Ronnie Dunn returned to the site in 2013, the church was collapsing.  It was torn down by the time of my visit in July 2015, and other buildings were torn down by the end of 2015.


Hunting at the Hotel
     The cowboy continues his quest at a dusty, desert town where he finds a hotel amongst the two-story buildings on the main street.
     The "town" with the Old West feel is known as the Boardwalk, and is actually part of the Lajitas Golf Resort, Lajitas, TX 79852.  While Lajitas is a historic area, the Boardwalk was built after a businessman bought Lajitas in 1977 and began building the resort.
     Reference: I learned about the filming at this location from a post about a blogger's visit in 2008

The boardwalk from "My Maria," as seen in July 2015

The boardwalk from "My Maria," as seen in July 2015

The graveyard from "My Maria," as seen in July 2017

The graveyard from "My Maria," as seen in July 2017

Graveyard Gateway
     As he closes in on the beautiful woman, the cowboy is seen on horseback as his horse rears up between two pillars.
     The pillars stand at the gateway to the Terlingua Cemetery, Terlingua, TX 79852.
     Reference:  Since there are graves in the background of the scene, it was easy to guess that this shot had to be at the nearest large cemetery, in relation to the other locations.


     "My Maria" went on to become a big hit for Brooks & Dunn.  The song spent 3 weeks at Number 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Chart, and earned the pair a GRAMMY Award for Best Country Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group.
     In 2009, the pair announced the end of their successful 20-year partnership, and they each moved on to solo projects.  Kix Brooks has even done some acting in several films
     In 2014, Brooks & Dunn announced that they would be reuniting to perform shows with Reba McEntire.  The three continue their residency, “Together in Vegas,” at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

Meeting Kix Brooks after a screening of his film   Ambush at Dark Canyon   (2012)

Meeting Kix Brooks after a screening of his film Ambush at Dark Canyon (2012)