As Bobby Dean stands in front of a cowboy mural in the entertainment room at his Kent home, he can’t help but marvel about the sudden rise of his country music singing career.
Dean, 53, signed a two-year contract in June with Lamon Records of Nashville. Lamon released Dean’s first CD “On the Radio” Jan. 4, including the single “Hank on the Radio.”
Dean, who owns Edgmon Trucking along Central Avenue in Kent, has juggled running a trucking business with singing in local bars for nearly 30 years. He never really pursued his longtime dream to become a country singing star as he focused on work and raising two children. But he kept on singing.
“A lot of people ask me why I didn’t quit or give up and I always say that dreams come true,” Dean said during an interview at his home. “But when I signed that contract I thought I was still dreaming.”
“On the Radio,” which features 10 songs of traditional and modern country music, has been released to thousands of radio stations around the world and is available at itunes, Napster and other music Web sites.
Dave Moody, president of Lamon Records and member of The Moody Brothers band that received a 1985 Grammy Award nomination for the fiddle tune “Cotton Eyed Joe,” described Dean’s style in a record company media release.
“Bobby has a unique style voice, very traditional sounding, yet he makes it his own,” Moody said. “None of that vocal-tuning trickery was used to make his album. What you hear is what he sounds like, which is refreshing today in a musical world where you can’t tell what’s real from fantasy.”
Dean had the walls of an extra room at his house painted a few months ago with the scenes of a saloon and Western town because he figured he would spend plenty of time singing at home.
But now he finds himself jetting off to Nashville to record songs or perform.
“My wife (Kim) asked if we would have to move to Nashville,” said Dean, who met his wife of 35 years when they were students at Evergreen High School in Seattle. “We don’t have to move to Nashville, but we have to be ready to go if (Lamon Records) calls.”
Moody hasn’t set up a tour yet for Dean. He will perform at the CMA Music Fest June 9-12 in Nashville as well as the Country on the Beach concert Nov. 17-20 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, a fundraiser for the T.J. Martell Foundation to fight cancer.
“The record label is working on that,” Dean said about a national tour. “They said they want to let the “Hank on the Radio” single take off and then look at a tour.”
Dean has competed the last couple of years at the Talent Quest national karaoke contest in Laughlin, Nev., as well as the Talent Search at Loretta Lynn’s ranch outside of Nashville. Dean also has been an unscheduled regular for about 15 years at the Golden Steer lounge on the East Hill in Kent.
But it was during a performance last spring at the Skagit Valley Casino in Bow that Dean received his break. He met Brenda Nitzke, a Silverdale resident, after a performance. Nitzke has connections in Nashville through charitable organizations. Nitzke told Dean he needed to get to Nashville so everyone could know about him and his singing ability.
Nitzke connected Dean with songwriter David James, who wrote “Hank on the Radio.” Before Dean knew it, Lamon Records had signed him and he was off to Nashville to record the album as well as a video for “Hank on the Radio,” which can be found at youtube.com.
Dean is expected to get plenty more exposure when Country Weekly magazine releases a story about him later this month.
Not bad for a man who moved around a lot as a military brat before settling in the Seattle area during his high school years. He grew up listening to Elivs Presley, and considers George Jones, Conway Twitty and Alan Jackson his primary country-music influences.
When people hear Dean in other parts of the country and find out he’s from Seattle, they don’t understand how a city known for rock ‘n’ roll, and the birthplace of grunge, could produce a country singer. But even being from Seattle, Dean has always liked to sing country. Besides, he sets them straight on which city he is really from.
“I tell them I’m not from Seattle; I’m from Kent,” Dean said.
Now Dean hopes he can put Kent on the country music map with his new CD.
“I’m hoping one of the songs on the CD takes off and becomes a No. 1 hit,” Dean said. “The record label has said there could be six hits. But it’s up to the public what they like.”
Give it a listen:
Hear Bobby Dean’s hit “Hank on the Radio,” by going to: http://pnw.cc/4ue
To learn more about the local recording artist, visit: www.myspace.com/bobbydean09.
To learn more about the CMA Music Fest (including tickets) go to: www.cmafest.com