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Ronnie Dunn‘s self-titled debut solo album sits atop Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart this week with 45,000 albums sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The album also debuts at No.5 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart.
Also this week, Dunn is shipping the album’s second single, “Cost Of Living,” to country radio as a follow up to his hit “Bleed Red.” The poignant song, originally titled “The Application,” tells the story of an un-employed husband and father trying to find work in a struggling economy, one that many Americans can relate to. Dunn says the song had been “been pitched all around town” until it finally ended up in his hands a few years ago.
“There is a very unique story about ['Cost Of Living'], Dunn tells CountryMusicIsLove. “That song came to me in 2008. Phillip Coleman had written almost the entire song, all the verses and stuff. It didn’t have a title. It didn’t have a hook line [or] a chorus. I asked when I first heard it, if I could have a shot at it, ‘could you just give me two days. I won’t hold it up or anything.’”
Coleman agreed to let Ronnie take a stab at the song. As promised, Ronnie came back with a hook- “two dollars and change at the pump, cost of living’s high and going up.”
Once the song was finished, everything seemed to come together great until an executive at Ronnie’s label felt timing wasn’t working in their favor. “I had one of the record guys saying, ‘the economy will be turned around by the time you can get this song out,’” he says. Interestingly enough, when the song was first recorded, the hook was “two dollars and change at the pump, cost of living’s high and going up.” Before the album was released, Ronnie went in the studio to re-record the line to “three dollars and change at the pump, cost of living’s high and going up.”
And that wasn’t the only issue. “I had another executive come to me and say ‘hey, you’re too wealthy to record it, you can’t say all this.’”
His response? “Well, ‘I grew up in trailer houses in
Dunn says this is one of the songs on the album that he gets “most excited” about.
“This [song] is not manipulated, it wasn’t written to exploit the economy,” Dunn explains. “[Phillip] is out there working for a living, mowing yards to pay the way for his wife and daughter.”
Dunn, who is one of country music’s finest vocalists and storytellers, has a mega hit on his hands with ”Cost Of Living.” At a time when the unemployment rate has exceeded 9% (according to the U.S. Department of Labor), the song gives a voice to so many people that need to be heard