Photo contributed by Jim Arndt
Ronnie Dunn, a country singer-songwriter, is best known for his 20-year career as half of the duo Brooks & Dunn. After parting ways with Kix Brooks in 2010, Dunn has begun making a name for himself as a solo artist.
For country singer-songwriter Ronnie Dunn, embarking on a solo career felt a little like going back to square one.
Best known as half of the duo Brooks & Dunn, the singer began his musical career in the early 1980s as a solo artist before joining forces with Kix Brooks.
The two decided to part ways in 2010 to pursue their own projects, Dunn said.
“After being in the same band for 20 years, it kind of felt like we had accomplished way more than we ever dreamed that we could or would,” Dunn said.
Over the course of their partnership, Brooks & Dunn sold more than 30 million albums and had 20 of their 50 singles reach number one on the Hot Country Songs charts. Some of their hits included “Hard Workin’ Man,” “Red Dirt Road,” and “Boot Scootin’ Boogie.”
Dunn said that making a living in music is always a challenge, no matter whom you’re working with. But now that he’s on his own, Dunn finds he has to reintroduce himself to the public.
“Right now, if I was going to cut one (challenge) out of the herd, it would be introducing people to who this guy Ronnie Dunn is. I found people were able to associate the Dunn name with Brooks & Dunn, but throw out Ronnie Dunn, and it’s just like starting over.”
Dunn’s self-titled album, released June 7, 2011, debuted at number one on the Billboard Top Country Albums and number 5 on the Billboard 200. He earned Grammy nominations this year for Best Country Song and Country Solo Performance for “Cost of Livin’,” another song off his solo debut.
Dunn’s most recent single, “Kiss You There,” from his upcoming album was released to radio July 29.
The singer said the best thing about going solo was the freedom to do whatever he wants.
Or, as he put it, “I have as long a rope as I want to hang myself with.”
Dunn said he’s lately been trying not to cater to mainstream radio or play by the traditional rules of the music industry. Instead, he’s embraced the idea of going digital, as radio appears to be making the transition to digital streaming.
But some things — such as his songwriting process — don’t change.
“It’s nothing new,” Dunn said. “I’m just kind of obsessed 24/7 with what I do.”
Dunn will play at the Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center at 7:15 p.m. Saturday. He believes it will be the first time he’s played Kentucky as a solo artist.
“Brace yourselves,” he said.
Tickets are available online at thecarsoncenter.org, or by phoning the box office at 270-450-4444.
Contact Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641 or follow @LaurelFBlack on Twitter.