Starting over can seem like a great way to re-invent yourself, and oftentimes, it is. But you would think going into a second career might be a little bit easier because of all the experience that’s already been accumulated. It helps, but it’s still hard work.

As one-half of Brooks and Dunn, the most successful music duet of all time, Ronnie Dunn spent two decades playing to sold out stadiums across the US and around the world. The duo’s songs have been played over 60 million times on the radio and Ronnie’s voice is one of the most recognizable in all of country music.

But since he and Kix Brooks split to each try their hand at solo careers, Ronnie has had to go back to the basics.

“It’s nothing like I thought it would be” he told KNCI’s Pat and Tom in a recent interview. “I think I naively popped off when we started making this solo record that maybe if they give me a year, I’ll get a hit or two under my belt. Now I look back on that and go, ‘You idiot.'”

He has had one bona-fide hit, “Bleed Red,” but the follow up, “Cost of Livin'”–despite its powerful message–stalled out on the country music charts. “It’s truly like starting over”, Ronnie admits.

He says a concert promoter told him recently about another well-known singer who left an established act to head out on his own. “I’m not making any comparisons,” Dunn prefaces, “But [the promoter] said ‘We had McCartney up here, when he first broke loose, [and] he was with his band in a van.'” That would be Paul McCartney, and the act he left of course was the Beatles.

“So it’s a learning experience, to say the least.

At the same time, though, Ronnie says that he’s having a blast. “I really enjoy playing music, I’m having a great time with the band.” So, he says, “from a musical standpoint, it’s really good.”

He’s also enjoying reconnecting with fans on a more intimate level. “I’ve played in front of big, big crowds before, and it’s refreshing to look people in the eye and be able to talk to them.”

Listen to the full Ronnie Dunn interview on KNCI.

-Tom Mailey / CBS Local

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