For much of the 1990s, there wasn’t a day or even an hour that you couldn’t go without hearing a Billy Dean song on country radio across the nation. Billy has had 11 of his 22 singles hit the Top 10 throughout his career with memorable tunes like “Only The Wind,” “Only Here For A Little While,” “We Just Disagree,” “It’s What I Do” and three tunes that he talks in this interview, three of his co-writes, The ACM Award winning “Somewhere In My Broken Heart,” “Billy The Kid” and “Let Them Be Little.”
In this interview, we catch up with the singer/songwriter and learn about what’s new in his world, including the launch of a concert series on his farm, Dean Acres. We also learn more about his career highlights and some other interesting discussions in this exclusive feature to Roughstock.com
Matt Bjorke: What’s new in Billy Dean’s world?
Billy Dean: A couple of things; Finally, I’m under new management with Ron Rainey out of Los Angeles and he’s a veteran manager who’s pretty savvy. So that’s going to be a great addition to my team. I’ve been working on some new music and we’ve got some of those songs on iTunes and we’ve learned that a lot of my fans don’t download music and still want hard-copy CDs so Ron’s going to help us out with that.
Matt: What can you tell me about Dean Acres?
Billy: We are having music events at my farm this year and we’re kicking off our Corral concerts on March 31st with a show that will feature Rhonda Vincent as my special guess because I’m such a fan. We have only 300 tickets for each event and there are only a few of the tickets left. You can purchase the tickets at Deanacres.com.
Also, if you can’t make the Saturday show, we’re having a Sunday Brunch the next day as a meet and greet sort of thing. All of the directions and information on this is also at deanacres.com.
Matt: What made now the time right to start a concert series on your farm?
Billy: It’s kinda becoming the hub of everything I’m doing, from writing to recording and the only thing we hadn’t done until last year was to have small “Live from my living room” shows where 50 people could come see me perform, in my living room. It’s small and intimate.
Matt: I’ve always liked smaller, intimate shows; they’re the best ways to see someone perform…
Billy: What we’re looking at is offering not only the music but giving people a chance to ‘be country for a weekend.’ Because we do live in the country, we live on the beautiful Center Hill Lake about an hour outside of Nashville, 12 miles off the interstate. We only do about six events of the year. We’ll do events in spring, summer and fall. What we’re excited about is that farmers kind of own the farm and Tennessee is so beautiful during the fall that we want to share some outdoor dining experiences on the farm combined with concert experiences.
Billy: Yeah, man. It’s a milestone and it seemed like the appropriate time to start a new chapter with the Dean Acres events.
Matt: So what are some of your career highlights?
Billy: I’ve been lucky enough to get to work with some of my heroes like Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Merle Haggard. One of the coolest things is being a fan of someone and eventually end up being one of their peers. And not only that but maybe them becoming a fan of my music and that’s happened with my buddy Kenny Rogers. He’s a fan of my music and I’m a big fan of his.
One of the greatest things on a personal level, if not for music, I’d not have been able to afford in my lifetime the trips I’ve been able to go, the places I’ve been, it’d have been hundreds of millions of dollars to go and do these things and I actually got paid to go do them! I wasn’t the best student in either high school or college but I found out through travelling how interested I am in history and the places I go and about learning. So for me, the experience of seeing the world and seeing the countryside and be able to meet the people and experience that has been very educational for me. I’ve gotten to cross off a lot of things off of my bucket list.
Matt: What songs stand out the most in your career?
Billy: Well, “Somewhere In My Broken Heart,” to this day, has probably been the most important song in my career, to me, because my songwriting peers voted it their song of the year back in 1992 and the Academy of Country Music also voted it their song of the year too. I’m such a fan of other songwriters and I get more ‘star struck’ around big songwriters than I do other stars because I know how much genius work it takes for them to do what they do and I have to work hard to even get close to that level, because I have to work very hard to even get one out on the marketplace every now and then. So it has been an important song for me on that level.
“Billy The Kid” probably struck the biggest nerve amongst listeners, I captured a feeling with a lot of adults and young adults who related to that song and “Let Them Be Little,” as I got older and had kids of my own, was a really impactful song. I’ve had a lot of career singles but they happened so far apart, they were about 3-4 years apart..
Matt: Well, that’s usually good…
Billy: I’d like to have had them a little closer together (laughs), but I’m grateful to be able to have them when I did.
Matt: If you had to describe country music in one word, what would that word be?
Billy: Real. You know, I think it’s about real experiences, real fun, real and honest.
Matt: You had an album called “Real Life”…
Billy: Yeah, right, exactly (laughs). I also wrote a song called “Real Things” which Joe Nichols recorded. In fact, it was the title of one of his albums…
Matt: Yeah, it is a great song…
Billy: Thank you. I love that song. That’s what Country Music means to me. It’s just real.