Ronnie Dunn jokes that getting the huge “COWBOY” tattoo on his arm a few years ago was only to impress Reba.
Dunn and McEntire’s friendship dates back decades. Brooks and Dunn were the country queen’s opening act back in 1992, and they were co-headliners for a two-year tour in the late Nineties. Their many collaborations include “If You See Him (If You See Her)” and “Cowgirls Don’t Cry,” with McEntire also contributing vocals to a brand-new song, “Still Feels Like Mexico,” on Dunn’s upcoming solo album. McEntire even coaxed Brooks and Dunn to get back together after their 2009 breakup, if only for their Las Vegas residency together — which is ongoing.
Dunn tells Rolling Stone Country the onstage chemistry with McEntire really boils down to their Texas and Oklahoma roots. “Her whole world is about cowboys,” says the legendary singer of his legendary friend. “The first show I ever played with her as Brooks and Dunn, I remember her as the curtain was coming up looking down at my belt buckle, sizing me up. She said, ‘Oh, really? A Cheyenne belt buckle? Do you ride?’ I went, ‘Not like your people do!’ [Laughs] Her dad was the three-time [bull riding] champion, and her grandfather won Cheyenne in 1934. But my dad was in to a lot of that stuff, too. And I was actually a stable boy at Keeneland in Kentucky. We just come from the same worlds.”
Still, Dunn won’t be impressing McEntire anytime soon with his way around the rodeo. “The next thing I did was show up with a ‘Cowboy’ tattoo from my elbow to my wrist,” he says with a laugh. “I showed her and she goes, ‘I got nothin’! Wherever you’re goin’, do what you gotta do!'”
Reba, Brooks & Dunn: Together in Vegas has shows scheduled through March 2017. Click here for tickets and more information.