Write. Record. Play shows. Repeat.
By Mandie Kiddy
Hailing from Church Point, band leader Mike Dean has been writing and singing songs for more than a decade. His songs reflect his Acadiana roots and poetic soul. The band’s music is country at heart — it’s the kind that tugs at your heartstrings as well as calls your boots to the dance floor. His distinctive phrasing and lyrics resonate with fans everywhere. Mike Dean Band shows consist of originals with occasional influential covers mixed in to create a true celebration of music.
Over the years, they’ve played all across the Gulf Coast and have had the privilege of supporting acts such as Robert Earl Keen, Billy Joe Shaver, Pat Green, Cody Canada, The Bellamy Brothers and Sammy Kershaw, among others.
Most recently, Dean showcased his songwriting skills at the Larry Joe Taylor Festival in Stephenville, Texas and the Third Street Songwriters Showcase in Baton Rouge. Dean described the LJT Festival as a 4 or 5 day music festival that draws between fifty and sixty thousand music lovers to hear music from non-mainstream performers with an independent following. Larry Joe Taylor is a popular singer-songwriter himself and uses these festivals as a way to get others seen and heard. An artist must submit material to be chosen for a performance slot.
“It’s a great showcase. You play for a packed house and the best part is they’re a listening audience. They want to hear your song. The song trumps the party. Very cool,” he says.
Dean also enjoyed playing and listening to fellow songwriters at Third Street Showcase. It’s held across the country in different cities. He and fellow musician pal Charlie Hager of The Captain Legendary Band were given the opportunity to perform at the Baton Rouge showcase in April. When reflecting on his experience, Dean mentioned that it’s a great networking opportunity for musicians, although networking is not his forte’. “
I hadn’t been to Baton Rouge in a long time. Their downtown is really beautiful. When it was all over I walked to the river alone and sat on a bench with my guitar. My grandfather was a tug boat captain for 35 years. I was watching the driftwood go by, thinking about him. I started singing the Charley Pride song Roll on Mississippi when this couple walked by. The dude threw a five dollar bill and a joint into my guitar case. I’m not as pretty as I used to be, passing for a street performer these days,” Dean says.
His band released a live album in 2016, recorded at the unique Richard Sale Barn, and the last studio album was released in 2012, which means recording new music is the priority right now. They are currently in studio hoping to record 15 or so songs.
“We’re recording on tape with Lucas Broussard, and I’m excited about his ideas and the warmness that’s coming through in the recording. We feel more confident playing our songs live after we’ve laid a blueprint down in the studio. I love to hear the songs twist and turn over years of performing them. It’s the coolest thing in the world to witness because we don’t purposely alter the songs. It’s as if they’re born and then they go through stages of life as any other living thing does,” Dean says.
He notes the best example of this is the song Cities on the River that he co-wrote with Buck Verret, bass player and longtime friend.
“The recorded version from 2004, and how we do it now couldn’t be more different.”
In addition to spending time in the studio, The Mike Dean Band recently played local gigs across the area including Festival International, and they have a number of upcoming shows this year. They are a part of a benefit June 3 in Rayne for a little girl named Emma Broussard and are hoping there’s a giant turnout for her and her family. Then they have a string of Texas shows over the summer, a show later this year at a Colorado music festival, and they will be headlining the 2nd Annual Cow Island Live Music Festival in early December. This event is a passion project by bassist Buck Verret and is organized and run by he and his family in Vermilion Parish.
On a personal note, if you haven’t been to a Mike Dean Band show, make it your business to get to one. And if you get the chance to say hello to the guys, they will be happy to shake your hand and thank you for being there. They are the nicest group of guys, talented, humble and lots of fun. It is my pleasure to know them and support them in their musical endeavors.
For more on The Mike Dean Band, show dates, music, latest news, check out www.mikedeanmusic.com