Larry Dean

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Larry Dean was one of the chief proponents of the Bakersfield sound and a strong presence within the West Coast country music scene. Born in Texas and raised in Oklahoma and Idaho, Dean came from a strict…
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Larry Dean was one of the chief proponents of the Bakersfield sound and a strong presence within the West Coast country music scene. Born in Texas and raised in Oklahoma and Idaho, Dean came from a strict religious background that forbade dancing and secular music. As the oldest of two boys, Dean was expected to help out on the family farm, where he spent long hours alone working the fields. It was here that he began writing songs in his head. A self-taught musician, as a teenager he played with various bands in the Middleton, ID, area. In 1980 he packed up and moved to Los Angeles. By 1981 he had formed his own band, Larry Dean and the Shooters. Awarded numerous honors by ASCAP and the California Country Music Association for his skills as a songwriter and a performer, Dean caught the attention of Nashville in 1985. He spent the next two years as a Nashville songwriter honing his craft. In 1989 Dean moved back on the West Coast, but not before accepting an invitation to appear on Ralph Emery's morning television show on TNN. Working with famed songwriter Wayne Carson, Dean penned tunes for his first CD. This 1989 release entitled Outside Chance included the title cut, written with Carson, as well as "Old Time Movies." Both singles charted. 1995 saw the release of Dean's second disc, From a Distance. This project was critically acclaimed even though country radio failed to take notice.

As a prominent member of the Bakersfield revolution, Dean garnered the respect and friendship of the legendary Roy Nichols, famed guitar player for Wynn Stewart, Lefty Frizzell, and Merle Haggard. Nichols, who acted as a mentor to Dean, instilled the importance of passing on the heritage of Bakersfield and the West Coast to the next generation in his student. Dean acted as mentor to several young artists, including California native and Merle Haggard disciple Michael Dart. Constantly on the move, Dean performed all across the West, where he was a favorite with the honky tonk crowd as well as with ranchers, rodeo stars, and cowgirls. As a songwriter, he composed in the Bakersfield style as well as paid tribute to the cowboy culture he was so much a part of. As a producer of note, Dean worked both in L.A. and Nashville and was often sought out to help develop several younger artists.