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Country music icon Ronnie Dunn spoke about his upcoming album in an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital, saying it’s a return to the more traditional style of country music from the ’80s.
Dunn’s seventh solo album, entitled “100 Proof Neon,” is Dunn’s return to the kind of country music he grew up listening to, which he described as country music mixed in with a little bit of rock music, taking influence from bands like Paycheck and artists like Johnny Lee.
In his experience, the most important thing about a song is how audiences respond to it and whether they can dance to it.
“Well, I’ve been wanting to do it forever, and I took everything back to the same content, well, 99% of it back to the clubs and the honky-tonks that we played down in Texas and Oklahoma,” Dunn said. “I tried to just go back to the jukebox days when we were … if you could make people dance in these clubs … it didn’t matter how good your band was back then, if you could get them up to dance … you got hired again.”
Ronnie Dunn’s new album, “100 Proof Neon,” takes country music fans back to the traditional country sound. (Fox News)
The second single released off the album, “Honky Tonk Town,” features a new up-and-coming artist named Jake Worthington who recently signed with the Big Loud record label and is working on his own debut album.
Dunn decided to work with Worthington after hearing his voice on a project he was working on with Big Loud records and was immediately drawn to it. He described Worthington’s voice as unique.
Ronnie Dunn first heard about newcomer Jake Worthington after working on a project with Big Loud records, which he was also featured in. He found his voice to be unique and was immediately drawn to it. (Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)
“It’s a project where Hardy was doing a bunch of songs, and they asked me to sing with Jake Owen on a song called ‘Jonesin’,’ and I did it,” Dunn recalled. “When it came back, there were three voices on it, and the third voice is the one that really clicked my interest. He sounded like Lefty Frizzell.”
While Dunn is enjoying turning back time with his latest album, he admits there are quite a few modern-day country artists he enjoys listening to. The method of getting the music has changed as he, like many others, has switched to streaming rather than finding new music over the radio.
Dunn says he is a fan of Luke Combs, who he called “a serious singer,” Morgan Wallen and Chris Stapleton, who Dunn says he’s known for quite some time.
“I’ve known Chris Stapleton from years ago when he was here working just as a writer,” Dunn said. “I used to always tell him, ‘Man, you’re going to be a star. You are a star with that voice and your ability to write.’’’
According to Ronnie Dunn, he and Chris Stapleton knew each other back when Stapleton was working in the business as a writer, but he always knew he would make it big as a singer. (Shannon Finney/Getty Images)
There is no slowing down in Dunn’s future as he is currently on his Reboot 2022 tour, saying all the shows have been sold out, and they’ve all “been ridiculously over the top” and “so much fun.”
“I had 10 years of off time to figure out that I really didn’t want to do all those things that I wanted to do when I was off but sing,” Dunn said. “So, I’m glad to be back in the game.”
Dunn’s album, “100 Proof Neon,” dropped Friday, July 29.
Lori Bashian is an entertainment production assistant for Fox News Digital.