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Brooks & Dunn Collaborated With McEntire In “Cowgirls Don’t Cry” And It Was A Hit

by
  • Arden is a Senior Country Music Journalist for Country Thang Daily, specializing in classic hits and contemporary chart-toppers.
  • Prior to joining Country Thang Daily, Arden wrote for Billboard and People magazine, covering country music legends and emerging artists.
  • Arden holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Tennessee, with a minor in Music Studies.

In 2008, Brooks & Dunn released “Cowgirls Don’t Cry” as the final single off their studio album Cowboy Town. And just a month since it entered the country chart, an alternate version of the song was recorded and released, this time it’s with the country superstar Reba McEntire.

“Cowgirls Don’t Cry” helped break some records for the country artists as it entered Top Ten on the Billboard’s Hot Country Songs. The song was Brooks & Dunn’s 41st Top Ten hit, surpassing Alabama’s spot for holding the most Top Ten Country Hits by a Duo or Group. Also, it became McEntire’s 56th Top Ten country hit, smashing the record of Dolly Parton for holding the most Top Ten Country Hits for a Solo Female.

How A Friendly Competition End Up In A Duet

Written by Ronnie Dunn and Terry McBride, “Cowgirls Don’t Cry” tells the story of a father who taught his daughter to keep her head up despite the difficult times.

“Cowgirls don’t cry, ride, baby, ride. Lessons in life are gonna show you in time. Soon enough, you gonna know why. It’s gonna hurt every now and then. If you fall, get back on again. Cowgirls don’t cry,” the song goes.

Ronnie Dunn further explained to CMT News the meaning of the song.

“The cowgirl thing is a theme they learn early on – to tough it out,” Dun said. It applies to horses so “much with the principles you have to learn and the discipline you have to learn to keep the horses up. You fall off the horse, you get up. You don’t cry, or you cry a few times at first, and you get over it.”

But Dunn reminded that though cowgirls are tough, “they’re sensitive, too. They’re women at the same time,” Dunn added. “They learn through the process to curb those emotions. It’s good to draw them out if you can. That’s what the last verse of ‘Cowgirls Don’t Cry’ is about: You’re going to cry whether you want to or not.”

“Cowgirls Don’t Cry” wasn’t originally intended as a collaboration between Dunn, Kix Brooks, and Reba McEntire. Dunn admitted that the idea for the duet actually sparked from a simple, friendly match. 

“Terry McBride and I were on the bus, and I started talking about it, and we started talking about Reba and hearing her talk about how she grew up, how rough she thought her dad was on her in her rodeo days. We wrote it and sent the lyrics to her that night,” Dunn recalled.

“She emailed me back about every other week going, ‘Are you gonna cut that song? ‘Cause if not, I am!’ So, we finally called a truce, and we’re doing it together.” And the rest was history. You can listen to the song in the video below.

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