December 27

Uncovering the Background Behind Brooks & Dunn’s ‘Cowgirls Don’t Cry’

Cowgirls Don’t Cry was the fourth and last single from Brooks and Dunn’s 2007 album, Cowboy Town. It was written by Ronnie Dunn and his constant songwriting collaborator, Terry McBride. It peaked at number 2 on the US Hot Country Songs chart, 44th on the US Billboard Hot 100, and 49th on the Canadian Hot 100 chart. On the January 31 chart week in 2009, the song made it to the Billboard country singles chart’s top ten. This development gave the Brooks & Dunn country duo their 41st hit to reach the Top Ten.

Aside from its chart-topping success, Cowgirls Don’t Cry was extra special because it was re-recorded and re-released as a duet by the duo’s fellow country artist, Reba McEntire. The rendition that featured McEntire’s voice was released on the radio airwaves following her performance of the said song with Brooks & Dunn during the 2008 Country Music Association Awards.

According to Ronnie Dunn, he first encountered the song’s title when he saw the words printed on a t-shirt at the Iowa State Fair. He then discussed the theme with McBride while they were on the bus. Before they knew it, their discussion shifted to Reba McEntire and the details of her childhood which she shared before. During her younger years, Reba had always thought that her dad was always rough on her. In the lyrics, it can be pictured that the story speaks of a father who teaches his daughter to be tough and hold her head high and with pride no matter what difficulties she encounters.

The cowgirl thing is a theme they learn early on, to tough it out. 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. They’re tough girls, but they’re sensitive too. They’re women at the same time. They learn through the process to curb those emotions. That’s what the last verse of ‘Cowgirls Don’t Cry’ is all about- You’re going to cry whether you want to or not.” Dunn elaborates.

After informing McEntire about the song, the duo was immediately challenged after the former exclaimed through an email,

‘Are you gonna cut that song? Cause if not, I am!”

It was then that they hatched the idea of arranging a duet with Reba McEntire for the said song. On February 10, 2009, Brooks & Dunn’s collaboration with Reba was officially released as a digital single. A video for the re-release was also produced, and it featured both the duo and McEntire performing Cowgirls Don’t Cry.

 


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