Ronnie Dunn’s Live Cover of ‘That’s the Way Love Goes’ Is Pure Nostalgia [Watch]
Ronnie Dunn's live rendition of Merle Haggard's "That's the Way Love Goes" will make you feel like you've been transported back in time to a hazy, smoke-filled honky tonk. That's a good thing — possessing the kind of voice hypnotic to make any critic fall in love with country music, Dunn croons the love ballad while acoustic and steel guitar players add even more magic to the song.
The Brooks & Dunn star performed this cover live in the Taste of Country studio as a taste of his fourth solo album, Re-Dunn. The double chart-topping "That's the Way Love Goes," co-written by Lefty Frizzell and Whitey Shafer, was originally recorded by Johnny Rodriguez in 1973 before Haggard got his hands on it and released his own rendition a decade later. The song was a No. 1 hit for both Haggard and Rodriguez and scored Haggard a Grammy win for Best Country Vocal Performance – Male in 1984.
Dunn joins this elite group by lending his own voice to the heartfelt ballad for his expansive Re-Dunn album that features two dozen covers of rock and country songs he's long revered. His interpretation of "That's the Way Love Goes" has a tinge of sorrow to it, capturing the emotion of the song as he draws out the lyrics in a plaintive and poignant way. It was a frequent cover in Dunn's live sets as a young performer aiming for stardom.
"I came up through the ranks in Texas and Oklahoma playing bars," Dunn reflects, positioned on a stool in the Taste of Country studio following his performance. "There's certain songs that you gravitate to over the years."
The Country Music Hall of Fame member says that while recording his version of the track, he learned that it was written by Frizzell and not Haggard as he originally thought. He compares the style to Roger Miller — a master of simple, yet poetic phrasing in his songwriting.
"It's simple, it's a verse and a chorus. Very few songs are written that way. You can get to the point, economize with lyrics and the melody, and make it just get there, surf that little wave," Dunn marvels. "It's so fun to sing."
Re-Dunn was released in January 2020 and also features covers of classics by George Strait, Hank Williams, Tom Petty and more. The album debuted at No. 1 country and No. 2 all genre on the Apple Music charts and is still found around the Top 5 on the country Apple Music chart.
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