Last week a team from Country Outfitter headed to Nashville to the incredible Ronnie Dunn recording studio–the one that just happens to be in the “barn” behind his home just outside Music City. (We had a rough time staffing this trip, as you can imagine, but someone’s got to do the dirty work.)
Country Outfitter came for the photo shoot; we stayed for so much more. The private concert we were privileged to witness during the course of shooting was an extreme bonus to an ideal day with one of country music’s iconic artists.
Ronnie has a signature style: Black. He wasn’t sure about venturing out of his standard color, but he did consent to wear a white shirt. Be still our hearts. Well, mine and celebrity stylist and Country Outfitter product strategist, Brenda Jones, anyway.
Who, just WHO, does not love a man in a white shirt?
Ronnie Dunn: A Cowboy and a Gentleman
Honestly, without going full gush (is it too late?), our entire team had a delightful time with Ronnie. He was a gracious host, a patient photographic subject, and an altogether charming guy, whether talking music, business, or what it’s like to forget the lyrics of a song he’s been singing for a decade or more.
“You have to be careful with the songs you know best,” Ronnie says. “It’s the songs you know best that sometimes you’re just playing along without thinking and then you can hit a wall and have no idea what comes next.”
We should all be so lucky to have such problems.
LITTLE WILL-E Records
Ronnie founded LITTLE WILL-E Records to foster the careers of creative, authentic artists who don’t conform to any pre-conceived, and likely outdated, ideas about what country music is or is not. He wants to work with artists “challenge the the idea that country music is limited to a specific space, age, race, sound, or background.”
According to Ronnie, the label will be all about freedom of creativity, collaboration, and building a family of the best talent, music, and fans in the business.
Nurturing New Talent
The opportunity to hear Ronnie play live music just a few feet away is a treat that cannot be adequately described outside of a poem (or maybe a song). And he surrounds himself with talent. We were equally impressed by the up-and-coming artists he’s working with.
Nikki Shannon Fernandez holds her own singing, writing, and playing along with a legend, and the angelic tone of The Voice contender Karla Davis‘ voice made more than one of us cry. You’ll be hearing more about these girls soon, and not only here on Country Outfitter Style. They are both destined for greatness.
We have so many stories to tell you– like the time Ronnie brought home Mick Jagger’s earplugs (his wife, Janine, was not impressed), or how he loves to sing the Eagles’ “I Can’t Tell You Why” on the beach when he’s hanging out with Reba McEntire. (EXACTLY like you and your old work buddies relaxing at the beach, talking shop.) We can’t wait to tell you more about how Ronnie writes his songs, or how he spends his time now that he’s scaled back touring. We want to show you INSIDE his tour bus! You’re going to be impressed, we promise.
But for now, we’re just sleepy from all the excitement so we’ll leave you with a song and a promise for more from our amazing trip soon.
I have been listening to an advance copy of Ronnie’s new CD, Peace Love and Country Music, for a few weeks now. “Grown Damn Man” has been tied for my favorite, but when those “tired baby blues” lit up when he sang it in person, well, I was done.
Enjoy, and we’ll see you back here for more behind the scenes with Ronnie soon.
“Music is the soundtrack to life. Enticing visuals are just as important. When and if the two come together in harmony, good things happen. I believe that the music that I make has to depict an honest representation of who I am. How I live and my life experiences come together to define the songs that I write and record. In a perfect world, I would capture the visual with the sound track. The people at Country Outfitter are helping achieve that goal.” ~Ronnie Dunn