Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dunn with the duo, ready to solo

Lindsey Treffry,

Brooks & Dunn have long since parted, yet Ronnie Dunn has found himself stuck in the past.

Ronnie Dunn will perform Thursday, Aug. 15, at the Clearwater River Casino Event Center.
After pressure to come out with a solo record during a 2011 tour, Dunn said he entered the performing world without Kix Brooks and no one knew who he was.
Going from a duo to solo act wasn’t as easy as he had thought it would be.

Dunn had booked a show through a top U.S. radio consultant to play in Baltimore.

“I was shocked when I got there,” the country musician said. “People didn’t know who I was until I started singing a Brooks & Dunn song.”

“What I had to do if I was going to pull it off was to take the mindset,” he said, that he would have had if he was starting from scratch.

His first album, “Ronnie Dunn,” came out June 7, 2011, via Sony’s Arista Nashville label. After leaving his deal at the Sony record label in June 2012, Dunn stepped up as a record executive for his own label, Little Will-E Records. He is planning to release his second solo album “Country This” in November.

Praise for singles from that new album is strong, with the lead single “Kiss You There” as the highest testing song on Sirius XM Radio.

“I just got an email today that it made the Top 10 USA Today top tracks right behind Pitbull,” Dunn said on July 31.

Although Dunn said it’s been difficult to market himself as “Ronnie Dunn” and not “Dunn from Brooks & Dunn,” his first solo album while at Sony still had many successes.

“Bleed Red” reached into the Top 10 on the country charts, before Dunn said his team decided to pull it from the radio.

“We reached our goal and decided not to push our luck with radio … and then move forward with ‘Cost of Livin’,’” Dunn said.

Dunn said the reception to “Cost of Livin’” threw him a for curve.

“‘Cost of Livin’’ ended up with two Grammy nominations,” said Dunn, who co-wrote the song about an ex-military man looking for work.

Dunn has also recorded for Sammy Hagar, toured with ZZ Top and The Rolling Stones, and collaborated with artists such as Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and Reba McEntire.

“We’re just going to stay under the radar, play smaller fun venues, do this campaign, put a second record together,” Dunn said. “It took a year and half to wind down the Sony thing and get free of that, regroup and come back out. It’s the first attempt to stage that comeback.”

And Dunn said he looks forward to performing at the Clearwater River Casino Event Center in Lewiston, where he has never traveled.

He said he will play music off his two solo albums and some Brooks & Dunn hits, as well as lesser known Brooks & Dunn music.

“It’s a full-blown show, it’s the whole deal, it’s the whole shebang,” Dunn said.

Dunn will perform at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 15. General admission tickets are $25, while reserved tickets are $40, $60 and $75. Tickets can be purchased at the Event Center box office, online at or by calling (800) 325-SEAT.

As seen in the Aug. 8 issue of Inland 360.

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