Review: Brooks & Dunn featuring Reba McEntire, “Cowgirls Don’t Cry”

What a difference a voice makes. Mere weeks after its initial release, “Cowgirls Don’t Cry” has been re-released to incorporate Reba McEntire, who reprises her CMA show cameo with an added bonus of audibility (nice!). Her harmony presence in the first two choruses lends the frail number some sonic punch, but her key-changing steal of the third one becomes the record’s new highlight.

Granted, it’s a distracting shift that technically doesn’t work, as the song itself really doesn’t call for it. But let’s be frank: it’s not as though the song was all that interesting anyway, and who’s going to gripe about structural integrity when a guest vocal is this damn good? In the span of thirty seconds, McEntire makes you believe every tired word, reminds you why she’s one of the best singers the genre has ever seen, and proves that she’s probably more entitled than any other person ever to sing the words “cowgirl” and “cry.” This is still the same humdrum song it was a few weeks ago, and McEntire’s brief presence here amounts to little more than novelty – but novelty has never sounded better.

Grade: B-

Listen: Cowgirls Don’t Cry


  1. I quite like it; I think Reba’s vocal takes the song to a new level, especially the very last chorus … I wonder now if the single will be billed to both acts on the charts, or only to Brooks & Dunn, as was the case with Reba’s ‘Every Other Weekend’.

  2. Her vocals make the song tons more better and it’s obvious that people will see that she could easily relate to the song, but at the same time I really don’t like that B&D bring her in just to make the song a real chart topper.

  3. Great song better than pratically everything on the radio today so I give it an A; love the more traditional sound/feel. Really liked the original but it’s always great to hear Reba no matter what.

    Jake, it was a natural evolution to have Reba take part as a result of the video that they made together — BTW can’t wait to see. They’re really good friends and it makes sense if she’s the star of the video now and especially after Reba just recently getting out of her old label. The song was climbing the charts well without her so don’t think it has anything to do with charts — just the love of singing together IMO.

    Country radio wouldn’t play the fantastic old school DOES THE WIND STILL BLOW IN OKLAHOMA unfortunately off of Reba’s duet CD … do you think this is a result of that?

  4. This song definitely SOUNDS good with Reba’s guest vocals soaring over beautiful neotraditional production, but I strongly disagree with the message in the lyrics. Basically, all they say is that strong women keep their emotions bottled up at all times. Crying is a perfectly normal and healthy way to deal with pain and grief. The song describes a young woman falling off a horse, having problems in her marriage, and losing her father especially. All of these, particularly the latter, are perfectly good reasons to cry. If a person really is going through a difficult tear-inducing time, this is NOT the kind of song they need to hear.

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