Clare Dunn's Love Letter to Colorado | Westword

Clare Dunn's Love Letter to Colorado

“As a people, we are as strong, rugged and vast as the Rockies and the high plains that make up our state," the country singer says.
Country singer Clare Dunn's new single "Colorado" was inspired by her family's ranch.
Country singer Clare Dunn's new single "Colorado" was inspired by her family's ranch. Clare Dunn
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Country star Clare Dunn has penned a love letter to the Centennial State.

“As a people, we are as strong, rugged and vast as the Rockies and the high plains that make up our state,” says the singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer, who was raised on her parents’ farm and cattle ranch by the southeastern Colorado town of Two Buttes and later moved to Nashville.

“We are a true Wild West state, we carry on the Wild West spirit in all we do here," she continues, "and I wanted to reflect that in this song.”

Simply titled “Colorado,” Dunn says the song was written out of a longing for home, an environment that always inspired and grounded her. “I'm grateful for my roots. It wasn't easy for my parents when they were first starting out on their own with farming and ranching, but they taught my sister and I about perseverance, resilience and overcoming great odds," she reflects. "Working in agriculture, you have to be versatile, multi-faceted and be able to adapt, and that's really played a huge role in my music career. As a woman, it's given me the courage to be a producer, which is not common in Nashville, and to be the guiding force in my music during the entire creative process.”

Dunn says the song was one that came about effortlessly. “It was late at night, and it just flowed out in about twenty minutes. I was homesick and I was sick of the city, and Colorado has always given me some perspective on the world in quick order," she says. "Even when I couldn’t visit the farm and ranch, or if I was just passing through, I felt such a sense of peace and ‘at home-ness,’ and it's been that way since I started making music.”
click to enlarge a woman stands in a field for an album cover
The new single will be available on all major streaming platforms on Friday, May 26.
Clare Dunn
Dunn will release “Colorado” on all major streaming platforms on Friday, May 26. The single is built with bass, percussion, a Hammond B3 organ and Dunn on vocals and guitar.

“Lyrically, there is a lot more metaphor, figures of speech, and even a play on words than I've done in the past. I'm usually very literal with my songwriting, but with ‘Colorado,’ I just let the song happen. I think as a songwriter, it's important to recognize when that is happening and to get out of the way and let it flow, because you’re in a zone — you feel it, and you know in that moment, you are doing what you are meant to do,” explains the songstress, who likes to blend her country with blues and rock. “I'm a big fan of Stevie Nicks, and I feel like that influence really came out in this song, as well.”

Dunn graduated from Pritchett High School and left Two Buttes to move to Nashville to attend Belmont University and chase her dream of becoming a country-music recording artist. Growing up, she and her older sister learned to ride tractors, drive cattle and ride horses to help their parents work the land and livestock, and she leaned on those farm skills to help pay her way through college. She drove a silage truck for harvest through Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska during every school break.

After completing college, the singer landed her first publishing deal as a songwriter. In 2014, she signed with Universal Music Group Nashville and released “Move On,” “Tuxedo” and “More,” which all charted on Billboard’s Top Country Songs. She toured the States, opening for Keith Urban, Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert, Hank Williams Jr., Luke Bryan and Bob Seger.

Nowadays, Dunn is no longer bound to a recording contract and has the freedom to choose where to live and play. The pandemic, she points out, also reinforced this right of choice.

“With how everything has changed since COVID-19, I'm grateful I get to work remotely and spend more time in Two Buttes,” says Dunn, who returned to the farm in March 2020 and has stayed there since. “There's no place like our own great home — never will be. We live life on our own terms, and that's what I hope listeners will get out of the song when they listen to it.”

Her writing process can start out in the field, in her truck, in her parents’ basement or wherever she happens to be when a song idea strikes. She creates and produces her demos on her own before taking them to a studio to record the tracks.

“It's all wooden ceilings and floors in the basement of the ranch house, so it's kind of like a studio. But if I'm on the road in Utah or Montana and I get a song idea, I'll bust out my backpack rig and start recording there,” she says.

In 2020, Dunn released her single “Safe Haven,” a gospel-bluesy ballad wishing everyone safety and comfort during the pandemic. In 2021, she dropped a five-song EP, In This Kind of Light, that she produced in Two Buttes. That same year, she was awarded Female Vocalist of the Year by the Rocky Mountain Country Music Awards.

Dunn chose to record her recent batch of songs, including “Colorado" and her previous single, “Legends,” at a studio in Nashville.

“Since I started making albums, I have recorded about every way you can, whether that's in the studio with a band, working in studios alone, a mix of both or recording in the back of a tour bus or in hotel rooms. So when the pandemic hit, I was back to working alone, and over the past two years, I got a little sick of it. There's a lot about working alone that I love, but I also love jumping in a room with great players and being able to change things on the fly,” Dunn explains. “While I may not give two cents for a lot of the industry folks in Nashville, when it comes to the community of creators and musicians, you won't find a better group of people anywhere.”

Being a native Coloradan, Dunn has been working on adding more tour dates in her home state. So far, the six-stringer has four shows in Colorado this summer. You can catch her live set at South Side Food & Drink in Limon on June 10, the 2023 Alamosa Roundup on June 17, the Arapahoe County Fair in Aurora on July 30, and Loveland’s Larimer County Fair on August 5.

"It's been a long desire of mine to be able to play more here," she says. "Before, there were factors in the way, but now, as an independent artist, I am able to embrace that goal more."

Colorado” will be available on all streaming platforms on Friday, May 26. For more information on Clare Dunn, visit and follow her on Instagram.
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