‘As close to home as I’ve been at’
Guthrie’s River Ruckus hosted it’s first Eat and Greet event featuring Nashville recording artist Clare Dunn at the Guthrie County fairgrounds Saturday night.
Over 250 people took part in the event with food, drinks and live music. Dunn, who has been a fan favorite on stage at River Ruckus the last two years, performed several songs, held a Q&A session, posed for photos and signed hundreds of autographs, while sharing her down-home feel with everyone she met.
“We play all over the country, but you guys are as close to home as I’ve been at, and I appreciate that,” she said as fans welcomed her back to Guthrie county on a cool and snowy February night.
Born on a farm in southeast Colorado near the Oklahoma panhandle, Dunn’s roots run deep in the heart of country. Working cattle, hauling water, driving combines, tractors and eighteen wheelers, were part of her everyday life growing up.
“Whose farm truck was the first car to drive?” Dunn asked.
A farm girl with a vision and sound shaped from life experiences, Dunn followed her passion to create music after graduating from Belmont University in Nashville. Today she plays all over the world.
“We’re lucky to do that, and for me writing songs and playing for my kind of people -- we appreciate you,” she said.
She enjoys the opportunity to share her story up close and personal with her fans, she said.
“Nobody wants to hear stories when it’s 94 degrees in the summer,” she said, referring to River Ruckus held in July. “But now since we’re held hostage, I’m gonna talk a lot -- we don’t want you back on the icy roads just yet.”
Accompanied by Reed Berin, who plays bass and drums in her band, Dunn first performed her hit song, “Ferrari” with lyrics, “I’m like a cigarette burning down on Marlboro, waiting on the curb for you, hurry up, don’t mess around...”
She changed the words to her song, “Cowboy Side of You”, singing, “Cowboy Side of Iowa” instead.
She moved into some of her favorite songs by other artists, hitting notes from Stevie Nicks’ “Have you ever seen the rain,” as several in the crowd joined her.
“When I first heard this it stopped me dead in my tracks,” she said. “It lead me to love all things rock and roll.”
Dunn slowed things down with a rendition of Garth Brook’s “Make you feel my love.”
“I’ve never played it before, but I just recently rediscovered it,” Dunn said.
She has a new song coming out May 29 titled, “More.”
“If you don’t like it, keep your opinion to yourself,” she joked, adding “More. You need more Clare Dunn in your life.”
She asked organizers when she was supposed to start the Q&A session.
“Whenever you’d like,” answered Lily Faucher.
“I run the show? I like that,” Dunn smiled. “We don’t need a microphone, we can hollar -- We have cattle people in here, right?”
When a guest asked Dunn, 30, if she has a boyfriend she responded by holding up her guitar.
“This is Marty,” she said. “It’s as close to one as I have.”
Her favorite drink? Besides water or coffee, she enjoys mountain sweet tea and a glass of Pinot Grigio, a zesty white wine.
How old was she when she started singing?
“As soon as I could talk,” she said.
“What is your favorite wedding song?” asked a young Jayda Anderson.
“Amazed, by Lonestar,” Dunn answered.
Her favorite Karoke song?
“I Karoke every chance I get, oh my gosh,” Dunn said, strumming her guitar into “Stawberry Wine” by country artist Deana Carter.
Her favorite song to perform?
“He don’t need no coat and tie ... ,” Dunn sang, as she ended her performance with her hit single, “Tuxedo.”
Dunn thanked Travis Clark of Guthrie Center for his kindness all day in getting her from the airport to Guthrie Center.
“I assume that’s your F-150?” she asked him. “That was our first touring rig. We’d drive 12 hours, play for a bartender and a manager some nights. We did that for several years.”
She encouraged those in attendance to chase their dreams.
“If I can be doing this -- I came from nothing, from nobody,” she said. “No dream, no goal is out of reach.”
A final question of the night had Dunn answering what her favorite thing besides playing music is?
“I love to go home,” she said. “To be around family, go down and check cattle, I just love being on the land.”