Single Review: Ronnie Dunn, “Bleed Red”

I’m in.

Ronnie Dunn’s first post-B&D single might be a kiss-and-make up song.  Or it could be a call for world peace and greater humanity.  Maybe it’s the turmoil in Egypt that has me leaning toward the latter interpretation.

The production is surprisingly pop-flavored, and it starts to go in the big arena direction but never quite makes it there. It’s as if the raw power of Dunn’s voice keeps the musicians in check.

We’ve always known Dunn is a great singer, one of the finest country vocalists of the last quarter century. Since he was almost always the lead singer of Brooks & Dunn, I’d assumed that his solo career would just be a bunch more Brooks & Dunn records without Kix’s token vocals.

My assumption was wrong. If “Bleed Red” is any indication, Dunn has a whole new level of music inside of him.  I can’t wait to hear more.

Grade: A

Listen: Bleed Red


  1. I loved his cover of “She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinkin’ Doubles” from the Country Strong soundtrack. I was unaware he’d released a new single. I see it’ll be available digitally next Tuesday, and I’ll be sure to hit iTunes for it then. Love to hear this guy sing!

  2. A reviewer at another site gave it a ‘thumbs down’- an assessment with which I agree

    It was a plodding melody, played at a pedestrian tempo that reminds me of the schlock that Conway Twitty recorded in his later years. This song is so far from being an ‘A’ that I’m stunned that you gave it that grade. I think a C+ would be overly generous. If this is the new level of music Ronnie has in him, then better he should keep it bottled up. For what it’s worth I wasn’t a big B&D fan, but most of my favorite B&D songs were songs on which Kix took the vocal lead

  3. Agree – great song and like that you can take the song in different ways.

    With Dunn’s unmistakable powerful vocals and the pace of the delivery, the lyrics come to life and you really FEEL them. We ALL bleed red – A very poignant reminder!!! As everything seems to be spiraling out of control within the schools, political arena, globally, and even within the family itself, etc. etc. we need to hear songs such as this.

  4. While I love the message, in the hands of a lesser vocalist this song wouldn’t rate an A. Collin Raye, mentioned by Scott, would be one of the few who could also make it work. Although there have been quite a few B&D songs (e.g., Hillbilly Deluxe) that I haven’t liked over the years, I look forward to hearing more from Ronnie as a solo artist. I think he’s far better than any of the current group nominated for ACM male vocalist.

  5. I don’t think it’s an altogether successful recording, mostly because of the melody. But it certainly feels timely and sincere, and I agree it’s an interesting stylistic departure for Dunn.

  6. I don’t particularly like this song. I can’t past the hook, “we all bleed red.” This song just isn’t that inspired and the hook seems too obvious. He should’ve done something different with his first solo single yet he records a song no better (vocally or production-wise) than Lady A’s “Hello World.”

    While I love Ronnie Dunn as a vocalist and see why he’s one of the best around, I feel like his talent isn’t on full display here. I prefer when Ronnie’s in honky tonk mode on songs like “Brand New Man” or “My Next Broken Heart.”

    I guess I just don’t want to hear him sing pop flavored songs. We all know he’s a much better country singer than pop singer.

    But I’m still going to give the album a chance. When Ronnie’s great, there are few better.

    May he have more success than Randy Owen did a couple of years ago.

  7. It’s nice to see a positive review of this song. I liked it when I first heard it. But I don’t heard much of a departure from past Brooks & Dunn hits such as ‘Believe’ or ‘It’s Getting Better All The Time’.

    Another thing I didn’t mention at The 9513 was that this isn’t a Ronnie Dunn-written song. I heard him say in an interview that he has been writing a lot of songs and expected to fill his upcoming album with them. It may be safe to say this is the only outside song on the new album. The others, if written by Dunn, could still follow the Brooks & Dunn sound format.

  8. I think it’s an interesting direction for Dunn, even though it’s not great, I still like it enough to want it on my iPod. My personal grade would be in the ‘B’ range.

  9. Kevin,

    We haven’t agreed on a lot of stuff lately, but this we agree on. Apparently radio does too as it’s gonna have a huge debut.

  10. It’s a decent song, I guess, although a little more AC than country.

    However, I have a hard time taking him seriously in general now that he’s reminded everybody in ink that he’s a “COWBOY”. One of the worst tattoos ever, and as a result the album cover almost made me skip reading the review/listening to the song.

  11. A little late, but I did download this when it became available on Tuesday. I definitely agree with Stephen’s characterization that it’s more AC than country. I didn’t instantly fall for it, but Dunn sounds great on it and I kinda sorta dig the lyrics. My only real problem is that it seems like the kind of song written with a poignant music video in mind. Maybe that’s unfair of me, but there it is.

    Still, I think it’s a rather unexpected and bold first official solo release from Dunn. He could easily have gone with something more conventional, or been tempted to do something entirely different for the purpose of declaring “I’m not recording Brooks & Dunn stuff anymore.” This, I think, is a single that was meant to get us to take notice of Ronnie Dunn, the solo artist, and in that it’s a resounding success. I’m eager to hear the rest of the album.

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