Album Review – “100 Proof Neon” by Ronnie Dunn
Everyone wants to be the country of the 90s these days, but no one wants to live in a time without the wide proliferation of the internet and when cell phones were like carry-on luggage. Even Kelsea Ballerini is trying to convince us that her next project will be influenced by 90s country. personified ’90s country better than Brooks & Dunn, and their monster hits like “My Maria”, “Brand New Man”, and “Neon Moon”.
Ronnie Dunn took a bit of a winding road back to his ’90s roots. the more ambitious of the two compared to Kix Brooks. Dunn launched a solo career and continued to release albums and singles, but he struggled to find the same level of reception as Brooks & Dunn in their heyday. It was a rather predictable result, but unsatisfied, Dunn kept pushing.
Ronnie Dunn’s 2011 self-titled solo album is actually pretty underrated and damn country, with “Cost of Livin'” and “Bleed Red” being some of Dunn’s best songs of his career, with Brooks & Dunn or otherwise. . But Ronnie didn’t seem ready to give up his radio relevance and got caught up in trend chasing a bit, which took him away from his roots. His 2016 album tattooed heart was definitely a mix of more contemporary sounds as Ronnie tried to do all sorts of stunts to get radio attention but still couldn’t.
Now it’s not about Ronnie Dunn stepping out of his comfort zone to chase current trends, it’s current trends coming back to embrace Ronnie Dunn, which means all he has to do is d to be himself and lean into the sound that brought him here. That’s what you get a big snoot on 100 Proof Neon. If you like songs about country, heartbreak, booze and neon, that’s what this album is all about. In fact, here are some statistics about you:
* All of the first five songs mention both neon and whiskey.
* Nine of the eleven songs mention at least neon or whiskey.
* Eight of the eleven songs mention neon, including two in the title.
* Seven of the eleven songs mention whiskey, including one in the title.
* Only two of the songs do not mention whiskey or neon.
And the music is of course very representative of the Brooks & Dunn classic, which means heavy appearances of guitar and steel fiddle, but a slight preference for electric Telecaster sounds, giving it that taste of rock for which the country of the 90s was known. On the contrary, the lyricism and the instrumentation are a little too coherent on the album. Sometimes one song ends and another begins, and you can’t tell if it’s just the last song repeating itself. Similar to recent Justin Moore records, there’s no doubt that these songs are country, but the sound and themes get a little too cohesive by the end. Drinking songs that mention whiskey are kind of the surefire way for more mainstream artists to go mainstream.
But there are a few songs where Ronnie Dunn shakes it up a bit, and with positive results. Some might want to blow Ronnie off for looting Ashley Monroe’s pocket while recording “The Blade,” which was the title track from her 2015 release. But reading the story, Ronnie first wanted to cut the song. , then when he heard that Ashley wanted it too and intended to make it a title track, he decided to be a gentleman and say “ladies first”. Monroe may still have the definitive version of this superbly written song, but Ronnie’s version is also stellar. “The Blade” wasn’t written by Ashley Monroe anyway. It’s by Marc Beeson, Jamie Floyd and Allen Shamblin. It was Ashley’s only song The blade she did not co-write.
Another highlight on 100 Proof Neon is “Road To Abilene” with Parker McCollum, who personally slaps for Ronnie Dunn who got his start in music in the Texas town, playing bass and singing in clubs in college until one tell him to choose college or clubs, and he chose clubs and moved to Tulsa. The songs give you another good time beyond all the drinking songs.
Dunn also collaborates with Jake Worthington on the song “Honky Tonk Town” and has embraced his role as a former statesman in country music, ensuring some of the hottest names in the new generation of artists get attention. . Ronnie also records the song “Where The Neon Lies” originally co-written and recorded by Triston Marez, which does not appear here, but Dunn did appear on Triston’s self-titled 2021 album on the track.
100 Proof Neon it’s always good, country certainly, but never super brilliant, whereas the consistency of the material means that a few passages in the album are more than enough. But it’s certainly cool to see Ronnie Dunn return to what he does best, which is being Ronnie Dunn. His core fans will be happier, and so will he. And it’s also cool to see country music keep coming back to more country influences. The 90s era may not be favorable to everyone, but it is certainly more favorable than any era we are currently living through.
1 1/2 Guns Up (7.3/10)
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To buy 100 Neon Proof