First things first: “Damn Drunk” is not a Brooks & Dunn song. It’s a Ronnie Dunn song featuring Kix Brooks. It sounds like splitting hairs, but semantics is everything these days. And no, please don’t refer to it as a Dunn & Brooks song—that’s just being silly.
Ronnie and Kix, the two halves of country music’s greatest duo, are still good friends who vacation together and have performed more than 30 shows in the last year as part of their Reba, Brooks & Dunn: Together in Vegas residency. The threesome has more Sin City dates slated through March 2017. So why wouldn’t the guys collaborate on a new song? When “Damn Drunk” came across Ronnie’s plate, he enlisted the help of Kix to sing harmony. It was that simple.
Written by Liz Hengber, Alex Kline and Ben Stannis, “Damn Drunk” is the lead single from Ronnie’s new album, which will drop in October on the Nash Icon Records label. Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts produced the new album, and both Ronnie and Jay stopped by the Nash Country Daily offices to talk about their collaboration.
“The A&R team over at Big Machine just dumped a bunch of great songs off on us, and we listened through thousands of them, you know, what we always do,” says Ronnie. “And ‘Damn Drunk’ just kept coming to the top every time we’d run it by someone. So we brought Jay in as a producer and took it over to him and did two or three songs. It was an absolute pleasure getting to work with him on the whole project—Jay ended up doing it all. As much of a control freak as I am about what goes down in the studio, I stayed out of his way more than anyone I’ve ever worked with. Everything he would run by me—ideas and sounds—I was like ‘Go.'”
“I think Ronnie is singing as good or better than he’s ever sung in his life,” says Jay. “And I also think people are also going to be surprised to hear some different sides of him this time. I think he did a great job being true to who he is as an artist but pushing the envelope just a little bit. There’s a definite modern slant to some of the production, but when you hear a song that kind of pushes the envelope, then you’ll come right back to something like ‘She Don’t Honky Tonk No More’ that’s just straight down the middle Ronnie Dunn. I think that there’s a great mixture for any longtime Brooks & Dunn or Ronnie Dunn fan. They’re going to be really, really pleasantly surprised with this record.”
Check out the Ronnie’s lead single, “Damn Drunk,” featuring Kix Brooks.
photo courtesy Nash Icon Records