Ronnie Dunn - Ronnie Dunn
By: Matt Bjorke
It can be hard for any artist with longtime success in a group to find success as a solo artist; so hard in fact that in country music, there are few examples of solo success outside of massively successful bands. Recent examples include Richie McDonald outside of Lonestar and Randy Owen outside of Alabama. While both are able to have careers because of who they were before, both have found the going tough in being separated from the groups. Ronnie Dunn looks to be able to make more of a name for himself on his solo debut Ronnie Dunn. Aside from the fact that Ronnie is still with the same record label he recorded all of his Brooks & Dunn hits with, he also has the benefit of having that last name as part of his previous act’s name.
While Ronnie has a lot to live-up to in terms of the past success, he immediately has found success with the atmospheric “Bleed Red,” a fantastic reminder of the similarities there are in each and every person on earth, despite the differences of race, economic status and opinions. In the end, we all do bleed red and we should learn how to get along and live together. It’s a theme we all should take heed of. The autobiographical “Singer in a Cowboy Band” kicks off the record and recalls some of Ronnie’s biggest hits over the years yet the melody is more good-time country rock and the guitar solo is not exactly what it might have sounded like if the song was on a Brooks & Dunn record. “I Don’t Dance” is a charming song that’s about a man who saves himself for the love of his life, his wife. While “Once” isn’t a song written by Ronnie himself, only one of a handful of the 12 tracks to not feature his name, it certainly feels as if Ronnie’s singing the song for his wife Janine.
“How Far To Waco” and “Let The Cowboy Rock” feel like long lost tracks from the old days and while the former feels more like The Mavericks than B&D, it’s nonetheless a vintage feeling tune. “Let The Cowboy Rock” is co-written with “Put A Girl In It” writer Dallas Davidson and feels ready to be played all over country radio at some point in the next year or so. “Cost Of Livin’” is a laid-back almost hymn about the plight of the modern working man. “Last Love I’m Tryin’” is a heartfelt ode to finally falling in love with someone while “Love Owes Me One” finds Ronnie in balladeer mode where he sings of finally being able to break chains and reins that have held him back from getting out of a bad relationship. The song works as the perfect album closer and shows just why Ronnie Dunn is one of country music’s best vocalists.
With Ronnie Dunn, the former main vocalist of the most successful duo of all time Brooks & Dunn has managed to do something that few artists do when leaving their bands associated with them. Ronnie Dunn has crafted an album that is different enough from his previous material but still not so far removed as to drive the audience away and that ultimately makes Ronnie Dunn the success of an album that it is.