Dean’s town is Edinburgh…. But the influences on this great album come from places as far afield as Nashville and Shetland…… not forgetting the Beatles. My Town represents a musical journey that began with the Scottish chart band Smile (who had a 1992 hit with the single “Obvious”), through Dean’s discovery of American country music and success with the popular band The Felsons. To some extent, American country music also discovered Dean…. And he is now a regular visitor to Nashville, where he has numerous musician friends-among them, some of the greatest names in the business. One of these – the legendary lap steel player Al Perkins (who played with country hero Gram Parsons plus Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones,The Flying Burritto Brothers and Emmylou Harris to name but a few) – guests on My Town.The album also features American Dobro player Will Kimbrough (Rodney Crowell) and UK accordion player Martin Green (Eliza Carthy, The Be Good Tanyas).
Playing festivals, including several in Shetland, brought Dean into contact with musicians from the Scottish traditional scene. They offered their services should Dean require them – and sure enough, fiddle player Marianne Campbell (Deaf Shepherd) and singer Karine Polwart (Malinky) – appear on My Town. Other players on the album include Dean’s long-standing collaborators Kev McGuire (double bass, nylon strung guitar, organ) and Douglas Caskie (vibes, keyboards). Other familiar names from the Scottish music scene include: Colin Steele (trumpet/ flugelhorn); Mattie Foulds (drums/ percussion); and Proclaimers regular Stuart Nisbet (pedal steel/ mandolin). There is an autobiographical element to the songs on My Town… starting, most obviously, with the title track. This reveals Dean’s love/hate relationship with his birthplace. He wrote the song on his return from a trip to Nashville. Several of the other tracks were written on the road…. especially in America, where Dean clearly finds! considerable inspiration. Others are reflections on life… involving family and friends. All are powerful statements, delivered in Dean’s unique vocal style and reflecting the many influences in his musical career.