Ronnie Dunn is back with a new album and boy, is it a goodun! He has been pretty good about striking a balance between sticking to Country Music’s roots and keeping up mainstream appeal, though as a solo artist, we’ve seen Ronnie lean towards making music that he likes and identifies with, rather than what radio likes, which is all the more reason to love him.
“Tattooed Heart” has a great deal of influences in its sound. You can clearly hear the traditional country influence mixed with the current mainstream sound. The first single from the record, “Ain’t No Trucks in Texas”, is one of the strongest on the album, and definitely has mainstream appeal all the while towing the Neo-Traditional Country line. Ronnie’s voice has that high-lonesome quality to it, and allows him to inject a great deal of emotion into his songs. You believe what he’s singing.
“Damn Drunk” finds him teaming up with former Brooks & Dunn partner, Kix Brooks, for the first time on a song since the breakup of the duo. This song sounds like a Brooks & Dunn song, in all the best ways possible. It is also one of the strongest songs on the record and a true highlight (though, evidently Ronnie’s mother would disagree). “Tattooed Heart” also finds Dunn teaming up with long-time pal, Reba McEntire on “Still Feels Like Mexico”, a song that finds a couple whose love flame keeps burning red hot, just like it did when they first met.
Honestly, the only misstep on this record is the title track, and it’s not even a big misstep, it just doesn’t feel like it fits on the record and feels a bit off coming from Ronnie. I’ll give him credit though, he does his best to pull off “Tattooed Heart”, which is actually an Ariana Grande song, but unfortunately it just doesn’t really work. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with Ariana Grande, she’s the pop princess that runs around the stage singing in a very high pitched voice with a high pony tail). The choice to cover an Ariana Grande song shows Ronnie’s willingness to experiment, but is also a prime example of what happens when artists chose the wrong song to cover.
Though, the Neo-Traditional leaning “I Worship The Woman You Walked On” certainly makes up for any misstep on this album. It is the true highlight of this record and is absolutely beautiful. The song is aimed at a man who treated a woman very poorly and then left her, sung in the point of view of the man that now has her. This song finds Ronnie Dunn at his absolute best. Other than the one little misstep, this record is top-notch. I’d even say it’s Dunn’s best solo record yet.
Highlights: “I Worship the Woman You Walked On”, “Damn Drunk”, “Ain’t No Trucks In Texas”, and “Still Feels Like Mexico” (Ft. Reba).