Not long after he returned from his honeymoon, Ronnie Bowman sat down for a songwriting session with Don Cook. When Cook asked how he liked married life, Bowman replied, “It’s getting better all the time.” Thus was born the inspiration and title of Brooks & Dunn’s latest hit.
BMI, the performance rights organization, honored Cook and Bowman’s songwriting achievement Wednesday (June 1) with a brunch at its Nashville headquarters. Among the celebrants were singer-songwriters Kix Brooks, Scotty Emerick, Larry Cordle and Larry Shell and disc jockey Keith Bilbrey.
BMI’s David Preston — who handed out the customary trophies — joked with the crowd that Ronnie Dunn had probably skipped the party because it fell on his birthday and he was “depressed.” Brooks “corrected” Preston when he came forward a few minutes later to accept his award for recording the song.
“It had nothing to do with [Ronnie’s] birthday,” he asserted. “I think he started doing his hair at 5 o’clock yesterday, thinking the party was at 10:30 tonight [instead of this morning] and that he might be done by then.”
When Bowman explained how his honeymoon remark had inspired Cook to start the song, Brooks boomed, “He stole your idea. You could have written that yourself.” Cook admitted he is ever on the alert for an inspiring phrase: “When they asked me this morning, ‘You want cream in your coffee?’ I thought, ‘That’s a song.’ That’s what we songwriters do.”
Brooks said “It’s Getting Better All the Time” is “one of the most heartfelt songs we’ve ever done. … I wouldn’t say this if he were here, but I think this is one of Ronnie’s best vocal performances since we’ve been together.” He added that he and Dunn had held the song for two albums before finally recording it.
Mark Wright, who co-produced the recording with Brooks & Dunn, recalled Dunn’s reaction when he first heard it.
“He said, ‘I know it’s a hit, but I don’t think I can sing it as good as that guy on the demo,” Brooks said. That “guy,” of course, was Bowman, a three-time winner of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s male vocalist of the year award.
Prior to the awards presentation, Bowman spoke to CMT.com about his upcoming bluegrass album for Koch Records. Just now being mixed and mastered, the still-untitled album will be out in August or September, Bowman estimated. He said that except for two cover tunes — “Walking the Dog” and “Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle to You)” — the album will boast all original material.