The most successful duo in country music history is back with a brand-new single, sort of.
Ronnie Dunn just released his new song, “Damn Drunk,” with special guest Kix Brooks on background vocals. As Brooks & Dunn, those two guys racked up a ton of No. 1 hits and sold tens of millions of albums. They’re now playing Caesars Palace in Las Vegas with their pal, Reba McEntire, so it wasn’t that big of a stretch for Ronnie to ask Kix to take their reunion to the studio.
“I just said, ‘Hey, you want to sing on this song?’ And he goes, ‘Oh, OK,'” Ronnie tells Rare Country. “We’re working out in Vegas together, so we’ve been hanging a lot the last year, year and a half, and actually enjoying our friendship more than we have, probably, the whole time we were with Brooks & Dunn.”
Back when they were in the heyday of the Brooks & Dunn days, Kix and Ronnie were pulled in a million different directions. Now, they can just kind of chill out and relax as friends.
Says Ronnie, “It seems like the last couple of years, we’ve been able to let our hair down and spend casual time around one another. Get to know one another after 20 years. How’s that?”
As for the song itself, Ronnie likes how the title “Damn Drunk” leads you to think it’s gonna be a honky-tonk anthem when, in fact, he’s singing about his devotion to his wife.
That’s not the only reason Ronnie chose to record the song though. He tells us with a grin on his face, “I love being able to say, ‘Damn.’ I’m an outlaw!”
Of course, “Damn Drunk” features Ronnie’s one-of-a-kind vocals, but he’s not quick to congratulate himself on the performance.
“As a singer, I’m always the most pessimistic person on the planet,” Ronnie admits. “I’m too much of a critic of myself. I have to go to counseling to get over that to where I can actually dive into the song. After hearing the demo, which I thought was great. It usually takes a week or two to find that zone where it works for me in my head. Sometimes it comes out in changing the beat or just approaching the phrasing differently from someone else.”
Singing about whiskey also reminds Ronnie of his friend and duet partner, Reba. He recalls one night when they were all out at dinner wondering what drink to order.
Ronnie says, “I go, ‘I’ll have tequila.’ Reba goes, ‘Well, I’m a whiskey girl.’ That term kind of stuck. I knew Toby [Keith] had written a song about a whiskey girl at one point. It all says the right stuff.”
“Damn Drunk” is available now at all digital music outlets. A new solo album from Ronnie is expected in the coming months.