Ronnie Dunn and Jay DeMarcus Talk Favorite Brooks & Dunn Songs, Avoiding Bears in Alaska and Ronnie’s New Album, “Tattooed Heart”

Jim Casey talks with two country music superstars: Ronnie Dunn—one half of the greatest country duo of all time, Brooks & Dunn—and Jay DeMarcus, one third of the multi-award-winning trio Rascal Flatts. Ronnie discusses his new single, “Damn Drunk,” and album, Tattooed Heart, which Jay produced, as well as his Las Vegas residency with Kix Brooks and Reba McEntire, and more.

Show Participants

  • Ronnie Dunn
  • Jay DeMarcus
  • Jim Casey, NCD managing editor

Show Links & Notes

Show Quotes

  1. “Why weren’t we ‘The Greatest Trio of All Time’? You get ‘The Greatest Duo of All Time’?” Jay DeMarcus
  2. “How about this: You are the most dangerous member of Rascal Flatts.” Ronnie Dunn
  3. “I’ve got half of Brooks & Dunn. I’ve got a third of Rascal Flatts. If I could get a fourth of the Oak Ridge Boys I could build one of the greatest super groups ever right now. If we could just get William Lee Golden in here…” Jim Casey
  4. “I want to ride the donkey.” Jim Casey
  5. “Ride the donkey. [laughs] How much do you charge for that?” Jay DeMarcus
  6. “We’re having a great time [on the Las Vegas residency with Reba]. Kix and I kid all the time that we ran up and down the road on buses for twenty years just to get a chance to do this. It’s as fun and convenient as you can get in this business. You go up to your suite, you got a butler or two and … y’know, ta-da. Having a great time.” Ronnie Dunn
  7. “They’re gonna have to do these next shows for free. They’ve racked up a sizable debt out there.” Jay DeMarcus
  8. “[Allison Jones of Big Machine Records] suggested bringing Jay [DeMarcus] in—she is real high on Jay as a producer—and we took it over to him. […] And it was an absolute pleasure to get to work with him … on the whole project. He ended up doing it all.” Ronnie Dunn
  9. “I think [being a producer] is probably my favorite thing to do. It’s kinda what I moved to town to do. I got a record deal kinda by accident because Gary didn’t play an instrument—every time he sang out, I would have to go play with him. I really love being in the studio and crafting the music that’s gonna last forever. For me, it’s the most rewarding aspect of what I do as an artist. I certainly love playing in front of the fans—and there’s a high you get from that that you can’t equal anywhere else. But being in the studio and working with great artists that have such a wonderful work ethic like Ronnie does and one of the best singers we have in the music business. Those moments, for me, are complete joys and [it’s] an honor to be a part of something like that.” Jay DeMarcus
  10. “I think [Ronnie] is singing as good or better than he has ever sung in his life. And I also think that people are going to be surprised to hear some different sides of him this time. I think he did a great job of being true to who he is as an artist by pushing the envelope just a little bit. There’s a definite modern slant to some of the production, but when you hear a song that pushes the envelope, then you’ll come right back to something like “She Don’t Honkytonk No More” that’s just straight-down-the-middle Ronnie Dunn. I think that there’s a great mixture for any longtime Brooks & Dunn or Ronnie Dunn fan. They’re going to be really, really surprised with this record.” Jay DeMarcus
  11. “Here in like 10 days I’m gonna go to Alaska with Kix and fish and see if we can get some pictures of bears without getting eaten or getting attacked.” Ronnie Dunn

The Writers Room, Ep. 36, 12 minutes
photos by Jason Simanek


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