My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Single Review: Ronnie Dunn – ‘Bleed Red’

In his first solo outing since Brooks & Dunn disbanded, Ronnie Dunn has gone the play-it-safe route with a radio-friendly, if somewhat bland, power ballad. This is probably a wise choice from a marketing standpoint, given the historical difficulty that has plagued artists who sought solo careers after long associations with with successful bands. Dunn’s age is also working against him, since at 57, he is well past the point where artists are typically put out to pasture by country radio. It was crucial for “Bleed Red” to strike a chord with radio programmers, and in that respect Dunn and his team have apparently succeeded, since “Bleed Red” debuted at #30 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

From an artistic standpoint, “Bleed Red” is more of a mixed bag. The Tommy Lee James and Andrew Dorff-penned composition is more AC-leaning than most of Dunn’s work with Brooks & Dunn. It’s somewhat reminiscent of Martina McBride’s “Anyway”, with its positive theme and dramatic string arrangements. Hopefully, “Bleed Red” does not mark the beginning of a long artistic decline for Dunn, as “Anyway” did for McBride. No fault can be found with Dunn’s vocal performance; he is still one of the best male vocalists in mainstream country. And while the song’s message is worthwhile — and well-timed given the current rancorous political climate — the lyrics are generic. They seek to inspire, but never quite live up to the drama of the production, which gradually builds in intensity as the record reaches its climax. In short, the entire effort is utterly forgettable and will likely fade from people’s memories as soon as it has fallen off the charts.

A stellar vocal performance combined with positive lyrics and generic, middle-of-the road production are probably enough in the current radio environment to propel “Bleed Red” to the upper realms of the charts, but I’m hoping that when Dunn’s forthcoming solo album is eventually released, it will contain some material with a little more edge and substance than this.

Grade: B-

28 responses to “Single Review: Ronnie Dunn – ‘Bleed Red’

  1. Ben Foster February 14, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I can sort of understand why Ronnie wanted to release something safe and radio-friendly, and his vocal was almost enough to make me like it. But the plodding melody, generic verses, and overblown power balladry ultimately did it in for me. But I definitely hope he has better material up his sleeve for future releases.

  2. Occasional Hope February 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    I agree with this – great vocal, well meaning but rather pedestrian song.

    I really don’t think the cover photo is flattering, either.

  3. Ronnie Dunn February 14, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    RAZR….I like what you’re saying. I “get” the artist vs. the commercial (benign) thing. I’m sure that you will agree that it can be deadly trap. Keep me honest.
    I guarantee you that there are songs on the upcoming cd that are far from safe, or benign. You’re dead on about my suffering from first single anxiety.
    I can take curves a whole lot faster ! You are however, mistaken about my age. I’m 29 years old and a damn handsome country singer despite the bad picture .
    Ronnie Dunn

    • Dawn McDarmont February 14, 2011 at 10:27 pm

      Damn handsome! And apparently not all that overimpressed with himself. Will go far.
      I personally am just damned happy to hear the voice again and will enjoy y’all taking it all back once the CD is released.

    • kathy cunningham February 14, 2011 at 10:40 pm

      Ronnie’s you’ve been doing this a long time, if you look at your fans it’s a good following. Maybe everyone should wait until the CD is out before making a call. Glad your 29 that means I’m 24.

    • saly rattray February 15, 2011 at 5:44 am

      Yea Ronnie. 29 it is and I totally agree you are very handsome. Just be you. The picture is just okay however I understand the look. I am excited to hear your record.

    • Razor X February 15, 2011 at 6:59 am

      Can’t wait to hear the album. Thanks for dropping by!

    • OPAL MCCOLLUM February 16, 2011 at 6:09 pm

      omg, I didn’t think it possible for you (Ronnie) to be any higher on my pedestal, but you went UP another notch by showing us the graceful side of you when critizised. THANK YOU SO MUCH KEEPING ON SHARING THE BEAUTIFUL VOICE GOD GAVE YOU. My first thought when I heard B&D were disbanding was: “Oh my gosh, I hope Ronnie goes on by himself!

  4. February 14, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    I have know Ronnie Dunn for a long time…and I assure you age to him is just a number….He lives by the sayin..”if ya didin’t know how old you were……How old would ya be??” …..He is a singin son of a gun and a more that that a great friend and person…..I applaude you R.D. for finally living your dream….a solo artist…. We have spoke about it for 20 years and now ,you have made it happen!! You have nothing tp prove…..just sing from the heart and all else will fall in to place….I have heard the cuts on the CD and I assure you all….you are in for a treat……Get , sit down ..and hang your ass on….It;s comming!!!

  5. Debby Martin February 14, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    I’ve never heard Ronnie Dunn sing a song I didn’t like, so I don’t understand the whole idea of playing it safe. This is an amazing song, and I find myself singing it all through the day. Honestly, I think it will be a very long time before it’s “forgotten”. Keep up the awesome work, RD! Can’t wait for the cd to be released, it’s been WAY too long!

  6. Kathy February 14, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    What u talking bout Ronnie’s age! Willie Nelson is 100 years old still singing and hes good as ever! Oh and so is The Real Queen Of Country Music, Miss Loretta Lynn. Ronnie you just keep on doing what your good at and let the fools who think they have marketing down keep on being shown how wrong they always are!!!!

    • Razor X February 15, 2011 at 8:55 am

      I brought up his age not because it has any bearing on how well he sings, but because once an artist is past the age of .. uh, 29 …. it’s harder to get radio airplay, and that might be a factor in some of the decisions that are made regarding what records get released as singles. No disrespect intended whatsoever.

  7. Jimmy February 15, 2011 at 12:54 am

    Hey Razor, why don’t you post your real name? At least Mr. Dunn has the nuts to create something under his own name. Grow a set of balls, buddy.

  8. Shirley Jeffcoat February 15, 2011 at 2:59 am

    As we age our tastes in life change. I grew up on George Jones and Hank Williams to name a few. I like the new country sounds, which Brooks and Dunn started. Ronnie is taking it a step further. To me, twangy country music is now a thing of the past. Why can’t we have Ronnie’s music be just what it is..entertaining with a message. Wow, thanks Mr. Dunn, I am your age so that makes me 29 again too! I would camp out all night to get tickets to one of your concerts…you gotta whole lotta good years left. As for the pic, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and all I can say is WOW.

  9. Connie Oliver February 15, 2011 at 9:39 am

    My self I love the song. But country radio seems to be driven by “youth” and I’m sorry not all the songs on country radio are that great. I’m so happy to have Ronnie Dunn’s voice back on the radio, It’s rather sad that radio feels once a artist hits a certain age they should be put out to pasture.. Thank goodness Haggard and Willie haven’t hung up their guitars ,, Very glad that Mr.Dunn is still singing to great of a voice to be silent,

  10. Denise Hall February 15, 2011 at 10:10 am

    This is a great song. Ronnie Dunn is the best in the business. Period! Glad to be able to hear that amazing voice again!

  11. Sandi Nonnemacher February 15, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    I am not liking this review a whole lot. I dont know if we were listening to the same song or not, but this song brought tears to my eyes. You will not find a better singer than Ronnie Dunn. I have yet to hear him sing anything I don’t like. He sings from his heart and soul and that is what counts. His age is irrelevant.

  12. Ken Johnson February 17, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Sorry folks but this song is an absolutely BORING piece of dreck. Nothing about this song makes me want to hear it a second time. Can’t believe that a talented guy who launched his duet career with the memorable classic “Brand New Man” would think that THIS song should be the benchmark of a new solo career. Very disappointing. This is the kind of insipid crap I’d expect to hear from Keith “I wish I was a rock star” Urban.

  13. AtlantaFan February 17, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Great vocals as everyone else has said. Waiting to hear the new music. And yes, it probably do well on Country Radio.

  14. Jim Malec February 17, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Hate to bring this up but: Can anyone confirm whether or not that is in fact Ronnie Dunn? Just sayin’.

  15. Pingback: Ronnie Dunn Shows Off His “Netiquette”

  16. J.R. Journey February 18, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    I agree for the most part with your review. The only part I (partly) disagree with is this track being more AC-leaning than some recent Brooks & Dunn singles like ‘Believe’ and ‘It’s Getting Better All The Time’, songs I also liked. I did expect a different sound from Ronnie out of the chute. I expected a grittier, party-anthem of sorts akin to ‘Hillbilly Deluxe’, ‘Put A Girl In It’, etc.

    I still think Ronnie Dunn is one of the best vocalists in modern country music, so I’m really pleased he’s back so soon after the duo split and am looking forward to hearing his solo album. And he’s not only a great vocalist, but a classy and witty guy, judging from the comment above. But we fans already knew that.

  17. Pingback: Album Review – Ronnie Dunn – ‘Ronnie Dunn’ « My Kind Of Country

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