My Kind of Country

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

Single Review: Ronnie Dunn with Kix Brooks – ‘Damn Drunk’

RD_SINGLE_DD_Cover_2016.05.03_FNLSince splitting with Kix Brooks in 2010, the solo career of Ronnie Dunn has included some shining moments (including “Cost of Livin,” one of the finest singles this decade) interspersed with bizarre rants, record label changes and a handful of forgettable singles. His last, “Ain’t No Trucks In Texas,” was so unmemorable and performed so poorly Scott Borchetta and his team have abandoned it all together.

Big Machine Label Group hit the reset button last Friday, with the release of “Damn Drunk,” which is being touted as the first single from Dunn’s upcoming and long overdue debut for Nash Icon. The mid-tempo ballad produced by Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts, airs on the side of bombast with loud electric guitars impending on a listening experience more pop/rock than country.

The track is also billed as ‘with Kix Brooks,’ a moniker I’d never thought I’d see in my lifetime. His contributions, solely on the choruses, are slight and add nothing to the song. Folks drawn to ‘Damn Drunk’ in hopes of a reunion of sorts are going to be disappointed. “Damn Drunk” is squarely on Dunn’s shoulders as a solo single.

Beyond those shortcomings, though, the track has merit. “Damn Drunk” was co-written by Liz Hengber, and while it’s not her strongest composition, it is a real song with actual structure. This song isn’t mailed in with hopes of checking off the lyrical boxes needed to produce a radio hit. It may be about a guy lusting after his girl, but there’s a slight maturity to the proceedings that puts “Damn Drunk” just above the rest. It may be rock, but it’s not bro-country by any stretch of imagination.

It also helps that Dunn commits to the song completely, with a tour-de-force vocal that proves he still has the goods after twenty-five years in the business. He does come off desperate with a scraggily appearance that renders him somewhat unrecognizable (he’s too thin or something), but that thankfully (the desperation) doesn’t manifest itself in this recording at all. Dunn is still himself even if that self is packaged in a modern day setting.

Grade: B

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3 responses to “Single Review: Ronnie Dunn with Kix Brooks – ‘Damn Drunk’

  1. Andrew August 11, 2016 at 8:57 am

    He looks like Hank Jr. if Hank lost a bunch of weight.

  2. luckyoldsun August 11, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    It’s too late for Dunn to establish himself as a mainstream solo act. Maybe if he’d have left B&D in the mid ’90’s–after their third or fourth album–he could have done it, but his era has passed. Even Alan Jackson and Toby Keith–who both developed indelible, distinct personas–can’t seem to get their new singles played anymore. (And the not-so-secret is that even though B&D arrived on the scene around the same time as Alan and Toby and Travis Tritt–in terms of age, Dunn is actually more of a contemporary of Strait!)

  3. rick phillips August 12, 2016 at 10:59 am

    stiil Ronnie dunn great as ever

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