Bill Dewey is a singer/songwriter/musician born in the Midwest. He grew up working on the family farm raising corn, soybeans, hay, and Hereford cattle. However, music seemed to always be a constant in Bill's life. Dewey was especially influenced by Johnny Cash from the start.
"My mom and dad were such big fans. I always joke, heck I knew at least 3 Cash tunes by heart before I learned to talk!"
As a child, Dewey wore out several toy guitars pretending to be a singer like Cash. At the age of nine, Bill became a member of Drum and Bugle Corps of America, playing bugle. Then he graduated to cornet/trumpet, and played in several forms of school band until graduating high school. Halfway through high school however, Bill embraced the instrument he always loved the most - the guitar.
He once took lessons in second grade, but the teacher stopped giving lessons before Dewey could get a good grasp on technique. In high school, he again took a few lessons, "got a grasp", and it stuck. It was in his blood.
"For years I had been developing my voice by singing along with my Johnny Cash and Statler Brothers records, at the same time, I was learning strumming technique by "scratching" on an old beginner's guitar in time with the records, not knowing any chords. My parents noticed this and presented me with a brand new guitar for Christmas one year, in hopes I'd take lessons again. I loved it, but I still wasn't serious about it to the extent of playing outside my own room. So I had wondered if they had wasted their money. Finally one day I decided to learn to play this thing. So I took a few lessons and learned a few chords. Even then I wasn't serious about entertaining anyone but myself, but I loved to pick and sing."
Despite his lack of seriousness at the time, Bill was destined to pick and sing for many. Dewey met a person at the nursing facility where his grandmother was then a resident, her name is Shirley Suby Hall. The two became friends right away. "She was stricken with polio while still a child, confined to a wheel chair thirty years before we met. Shirley is the person who convinced me I should sing for people. We listened to tons of records together, but when she found out I could play and sing, she didn't stop talking about it until I brought my guitar. So that's where it all started. Pretty soon I was entertaining a whole room full of residents every Sunday before church. Shirley and myself were great friends. She was a wonderful person, and a great inspiration." Soon a local family band made up of friends of Dewey's invited him to guest perform at a few of their gigs. Bill was hooked. At that point, his professional career in music had begun. A year or so later Dewey formed his own band- "Bill Dewey and the Blazin' Broncos". They played nearly every weekend in the regional area performing at clubs, fairs, private functions, and parades. Bill played as much as he could, anywhere he could.
Dewey was also writing his own songs, recording demos of his material locally. He picked up more and more musical influences through out this time period. Singers and musicians like- Willie Nelson and Dwight Yoakam, to Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. Other notables include- Carl Perkins, Don Rich, Pete Anderson, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Bill grew to love all types of music, from big band to hard rockers. His list of heroes continued to grow. Incidentally while all this was going on, to make a living other than being a musician, Bill hired out to other farmers and also worked in the grocery business.
Next, Dewey was to make his first record. A 45rpm disc consisting of two original songs- "Well Enough Alone, and "Just Pleasin' You". The record was cut at the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. The same starting point as many of his heroes, including Johnny Cash. The 45 was sold regionally, and got some airplay.
By this time Bill had changed band members a couple of times, and changed the band's name to the "Dynammics". Bill and the Dynammics performed at a tribute to Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper, and pilot Roger Peterson. The above mentioned perished in a plane crash after a concert in Feb. 1959. The tribute show gave Dewey national attention. Enough attention that for a time he was slated to portray Ritchie Valens in a movie about the Big Bopper. In years to come Bill and his band became favorites at the official Buddy Holly Tribute. The world famous tribute has been an annual event every year since it's inception in 1979. It is held on the anniversary of the days surrounding the tragedy; in the same venue the three stars last performed in- the fabulous Surf Ballroom.
Bill Dewey and the Dynammics then continued to perform on a regular basis to bigger and bigger crowds. This firestorm of attention also attracted something Bill was needing in his career; a manager. Things looked pretty good. Dewey was also attending college to further his musical knowledge. Studying very hard he managed to earn a 4.0 GPA.
The time was getting nearer for moving to Nashville. Bill had visited Nashville several times. Ironically, on his very first visit he met his lifelong idol, Johnny Cash. What he was now about to embark on was a long eventful journey.
"That detailed story will have to wait until I write my book before I can tell it all!" Upon getting settled in Tennessee, Bill again worked in the grocery field. After that he moved into the residential and commercial construction business. Bill specialized in metal stud framing and drywall.
Also, to start things off musically in Nashville, Dewey joined a rockabilly four piece combo. They played all over Nashville and surrounding areas. Bill played lead guitar on an album release by that group- "Justin Curtis-Rockabilly in 3-D". Bill then met a man who would become his producer- Jack Hale. Hale and Dewey started recording Dewey's original material. Thus began a major quest to gain attention from record labels. He ended up getting some too, nearly signed by major Nashville label Mercury.
Just one of the numerous times Bill came real close. Dewey trudges on, writing, recording, and performing. Through the years, Bill became a member of many bands as a lead guitar player and singer. He's performed in many locations in the south.
"At first I attempted to start my own group in Tennessee. But then I decided to free- lance it. This helped me a lot because I was able to meet and work with many musicians and get lots of experience I wouldn't have had working with the same group all of the time. So, it allowed me to cover a lot of ground."
His original group from the Midwest has never officially disbanded though. Bill Dewey is going to keep on rockin', and invites you to come along, please do!
UPDATE May 18, 2005
Hope you're having a good Spring so far, Bill and his band have been working steady to great crowds. You're all appreciated very much, thank you.
The tribute album to Johnny Cash is still doing well, it is on the airwaves in 12 countries in Europe and growing. Stay tuned, because it is about to be launched into the digital download world very soon. You can purchase 1 song, or all 10, we'll let you know when!
The tour of Europe is still on hold, but will happen sooner or later, we'll keep you posted.
You'll have to check out Bill's "Listen" page at Bill Dewey.com, there are now 4 new live cuts to listen to. More will be coming soon. Tell all your friends to check out Bill's web site. Have them be sure to send a message from the "Contact" page including their E-mail address if they're interested in receiving a newsletter too.
On September 1st Bill is going to appear at the Heart Of America 1st Annual Tribute to Johnny Cash. Featuring Johnny's guitar built by Billy Grammar. The guitar recently sold for $131,000. It will be played in the show, Bill says he thinks he'll wear his gloves! At this point, in addition to Bill, these performers are also (scheduled) to appear:
Bob Wootton- Cash's lead guitarist for 30 some years.
Terry Smith- composer of "Far Side Banks Of Jordan".
Marvin Rainwater- his big hit was "Gonna Find Me A Bluebird".
Kent Thomson- radio DJ
Peggy Knight- author of 3 books about her 33 years as Cash's house keeper.
Jack Clement- legendary producer/composer. He wrote "Ballad Of A Teenage Queen".
Sharon Graves- the lady who bought the Billy Grammar guitar made for Johnny Cash.
Bill is also scheduled to be in a showcase for Cracker Barrel restaurants that weekend. The Cash tribute takes place at the Harrison County fairgrounds in the Pioneer Building in Missouri Valley, Iowa.
Bill Dewey and the Dynammics will be opening for country newcomer Trent Willmon July 23rd at the Hancock County fair in Britt, Iowa. Plans are to start the Bill Dewey fan club, stay tuned.
Coming to the Bill Dewey and the Dynammics web site: merchandise! Soon you'll be able to browse through several items and purchase right from the page.
Also in the works is the Bill Dewey radio station. That's right, a web radio station where you can listen to Bill & The Dynammics 24hrs a day. Check out the newest photos on Bill's site, more are added all the time. Soon a page will be devoted to photos of all of you!
You'll receive a "news flash" E-mail as these things take effect! Well, that's it for now, till next time, take care and God bless...
The album has been selling well since its release on March 3rd, 2004. Five star reviews all the way so far! Thanks people! Bill has been getting airplay, and more to come. A full out campaign to the NPR radio network is under way.
Bill did an on-air radio interview via telephone with DJ hall of fame member Dale Eichor on KWMT AM 540 out of Fort Dodge, IA. If your in earshot of KWMT, call and request your favorite cut off Bill's CD! (800) 552-9454.
Requests are coming in at one station in Wichita, KS. The DJ spinnin' Bill's disc is none other than DJ hall of fame member and former member of the Johnny Cash show- Johnny Western. Give him a holler if you're near Wichita! Johnny does the morning show at KFDI AM 1070, request Bill Dewey!
Western was very gracious and gave Bill an endorsement for the album. W.S. Holland did as well. You can check it out on the "Albums" page at Bill's site. You can also check out the great reviews pouring in there too. If you're near Prairie City, IA give John Patrick a call at KDLS AM and request Bill.
Stay tuned to Bill's web site, plus you'll get another newsletter as things develop concerning performances, (and everything else)!