In a recent conversation with Ultimate Classic Rock, Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon shared his delight about Dolly Parton featuring their hit song ‘Keep On Loving You’ on her ‘Rockstar’ album. The two artists collaborated on a fresh rendition of the track.
When asked about Dolly’s interpretation of the lines, ‘You played dead/ But you never bled/ Instead you laid still in the grass/ All coiled up and hissin,’ Kevin responded with a chuckle:
“I’m thrilled to hear that. I’ve always maintained — and this is genuine, not false modesty — that I love it when genuine singers interpret my songs. Back in the early 2000s, during my time in Nashville, I had the pleasure of being around Bekka Bramlett. She resided in Nashville and is one of the most soulful artists you’ll ever encounter. Her voice is truly remarkable in what she brings to the table.”
Revitalizing the Essence of ‘That Ain’t Love
Continuing the conversation, the rock artist reflected on a moment when Bekka Bramlett lent her vocals to one of his tracks: “She happened to be around when I was working on country versions of some of my songs for the publishing company. Among them was ‘That Ain’t Love,’ not a massive hit but certainly noteworthy. I gave Bekka a call, and she came in to sing the vocals for this country-infused take on ‘That Ain’t Love.’ In just two takes, she delivered a performance that could have easily earned a Grammy.”
Cronin then delved into the transformation of the band’s arrangement for the song: “Listening to what Bekka did with that song, I went back into rehearsal with the band and completely revamped the entire arrangement. She took those lyrics and sang them with such intensity. It was a beautiful rendition that truly elevated the song. It made me go, ‘Oh. Yeah. Wow!’ Despite being the lead singer in a rock band, I never really saw myself as a singer, which, in hindsight, seems a bit silly.”
Cronin’s Evolution in Embracing His Vocal Prowess
Closing the discussion, the singer reflected on his journey working with vocal coach Jeffrey Allen over the past three years: “In the last three years, I’ve been under the guidance of Jeffrey Allen, who leads the pop vocal program at USC. Whether through Zoom or in-person, he’s been my vocal coach. It’s finally starting to click, and I’m beginning to feel like, ‘Well, okay, maybe I can officially call myself a singer now!’ I feel like I understand how the instrument works, rather than just giving it my all and hoping for the best.”
In a November post on the band’s official website, Cronin expressed gratitude to Dolly Parton for revitalizing his image. He praised her ‘Rockstar’ album, highlighting the positive reception of their duet on ‘Keep on Loving You.’ He noted that this collaboration, akin to the recognition he received in 2020 with ‘Ozark’s Season Three, has significantly boosted his credibility. Feel free to check out their duet below.
<iframe width=”768″ height=”658″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/nr0OKnJHdyg” title=”Dolly Parton – Keep On Loving You (feat. Kevin Cronin) (Official Audio)” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share” allowfullscreen></iframe>