Dunn first posted an extended comment from someone whom he described as “a good friend and fan with the best of intentions.” In the comments by this friend, Dunn is accused of a multitude of offenses, including walking away from “one of the greatest, most successful, most popular acts of all time.” The friend went on to cite some of their favorite Brooks & Dunn songs and mentioned that there was music for the taste of any country fan. Of course there was the legitimate criticism that all that is on country radio now is the clichéd topics of trucks, beer, and girls, and the compliments that that was never Brooks & Dunn’s style.
That’s when the criticism really began.
Not only was Dunn’s solo work criticized as being nowhere near as good as anything from B&D’s heyday, but the friend flat out accused Dunn of not only “bashing” Kix, but also bashing the former duo as a whole. Dunn was criticized for bashing. He was criticized for basing his former label, Sony. And then, his new album was almost entirely disregarded, with the exception of a few songs.
The friend then encouraged Dunn to make amends with Kix and to make an appearance together, and to make amends with his label, and even with radio.
Finally, after posting the comments from the friend, Dunn took the time to respond.
He dismissed the notion the he’d bashed Brooks & Dunn, instead simply stating that what he’d said was fact: “I didn't just "walk away" from Brooks and Dunn[…]I'm not going to bash Kix for his business decisions. He's said it and I will say it….we're like brothers and always will be. We're may not always going to see eye to eye.
.…what I said about the power struggle between Cumulus (Kix's employer) and Clear Channel is a FACT.
Clear Channel is not going to play an artist that is a high profile employee of their biggest competitor, Cumulus.
PLAY SOMETHING COUNTRY was B&D's last #1 song….not sour grapes, FACT.
"What I said about the power struggle between Cumulus (Kix's employer) and Clear Channel is a FACT. Clear Channel is not going to play an artist that is a high profile employee of their biggest competitor, Cumulus. PLAY SOMETHING COUNTRY was B&D's last #1 song….not sour grapes, FACT. I brought notice to the issue because it was, in fact the primary catalyst that led to B&D's radio demise. We stopped getting critical across the board airplay."
Finally, near the end of his comments, Dunn offered: “I haven't thrown in the towel…
I'm just trying to sit still. I went at it with with all I had. I don't know what else to do ?”[sic]
Now, my thoughts on this. First and foremost, from the few posts I’ve made so far (I believe this is now somewhere around my 15th, 16th if you count an updated one as two). I think I’ve made it abundantly clear how I feel about mainstream radio. That being said, s far as the criticism Ronnie has given to country radio has occurred and more importantly, his criticism of radio has been completely legitimate. I heard “Bleed Red” several times on the radio when it first came out, and I heard “Cost of Livin’” a few times, but after that, nothing. And his new album Peace, Love, and Country Music is outstanding. It’s a five-star album. But it hasn’t garnered any radio play. I’ve heard nothing from it played by my local station.
Also, to suggest that Dunn should "make amends" with radio is suggesting that Dunn was wrong in some way. Dunn's criticism of radio has been spot on, and in that regard, he has nothing to apologize for. I'm sure Dunn is well aware that this may limit his airplay, but I think the integrity of Dunn's comments is much more important to him.
During his response, Dunn cites his song, “Grown Damn Man” (off of his newest album) as his theme song. I got honest and said what and how I feel. It's simple but says a lot[…]People aren't buying hardcore country music right now. They may not be into buying Ronnie Dunn period.”
Personally, I don’t think it’s fair to give too much criticism toward Ronnie Dunn for leaving the duo. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE Brooks & Dunn. And I’d probably respond differently if he’d left the duo to go solo, and simply turned into a pop rock singer, selling out to make money because the hits as a duo had quit coming. But Dunn didn’t do that. The hits still haven’t followed, but the quality music has continued. He’s still making real country music the way he wants to.
And arguably, Kix has been just as successful in his solo efforts. He put out a solo album himself which produced a Top 40 single, still remaining country and not selling out to pop either.
They’ve both gone their own way. And only they can know if they’re happier for it.
But the big question, the question that people have been asking almost since their final show. What about a reunion. Will Brooks & Dunn ever play together again?
Now, this is where it gets interesting.
Early in his response, Dunn did take the time to quote the Eagles and say that a reunion would happen “when hell freezes over.” This I found a bit perplexing, because, keep in mind, the Eagles did eventually reunite, putting out a live album called Hell Freezes Over fourteen years after Don Henley made that quote.
Dunn is not musically ignorant. He’s clearly familiar with this Don Henley quote, and therefore, must certainly be aware of the live album which was eventually produced. And thirteen years after that, a new studio album was even released.
I don’t think a reunion is in the works. That would be too much to hope for. But I really do believe that Dunn was giving a veiled concession of “maybe someday.”