2006 CD REVIEW
FULL CIRCLE (DUALTONE-SHOCK.)
DERYL DODD FULL CIRCLE
“I'm wearin' a hole in a honky tonk floor/ I like the feel of my heels slidin' over the boards/ I like the music they play behind those swingin' doors/ I'm wearin' a hole in a honky tonk floor.” Wearin' A Hole - Michael Henderson.
Now, with a dose of pure country the singer is filling dance floors and emulating the title of his sixth disc Full Circle .
Dodd connects because he draws deep from his roots to sing about life beyond the fad driven country pop choking charts.
He graduated from Baylor University and played in honky tonk bands before heading to Nashville as a writer and picker.
He hooked up with fellow Texan refugee, childhood friend and latter day producer Brett Beavers - also studio serf for Dierks Bentley - and joined road bands for Martina McBride and Tracy Lawrence and pitched his songs to major artists.
Dodd released two albums with hits One Ride In Vegas , Tom T Hall classic That's How I Got To Memphis and A Bitter End before his two-year hiatus.
TIM MCGRAW TO RESCUE
“I'm in the small town church where we said our vows/ I'm in the beach front room where we honeymooned/ I'm down at Love's Café where we met every day/ I'm here in this house but I'm not home right now.” - I'm Not Home Right Now - Deryl Dodd-Kenny Beard.
Dodd and his Homesick Cowboys toured to support Lucky Dog disc Pearl Snaps that was followed by a live album and two Dualtone discs.
He wrote seven songs including ruptured romance requiem I'm Not Home Now and positive passion paean Someone Is Waiting For Me .
The singer is equally accessible on entrée shuffle - Michael Henderson's Wearin' A Hole, love rebound tune Thanks To The Man and Jim Lauderdale-Clay Blaker song It's Only Cause You're Lonely.
Dodd mixes mood swings of I Won't Run and biblical love choices of Solid Ground with Bob Wills' homage That's The Stuff .
JESSI COLTER OUTLAW HAIR
“I saw her at the Dairy Queen with the captain of the football team/ brown hair fallin' on her shoulders just like Jessi Colter.” - Into Outlaw - Brett and Jim Beavers.
Into Outlaw was written by Dierks Bentley's producer Brett Beavers and his brother Jim and name checks Waylon Jennings widow Jessi Colter.
That wry tune reaches into history akin to fitting finale Songs Of The Family, drawing from Dodd family musical gatherings embracing three generations including an excerpt from one soiree.
"My mother and father were just working people, but my dad was a really good guitar player, and he had a trio with his twin brother and my mom," says Dodd who played in bands with three siblings in his youth.
His dad was an electrician who was unable to attend college but wanted his kids to further their education beyond high school. So Dodd attended Texas Tech as a freshman and then transferred to Baylor University where he graduated in 1987
He grew up in a Dallas family that prized hard work and loved to make music.
"My mother and father were just working people, but my dad was a really good guitar player, and he had a trio with his twin brother and my mom,"
A 1966 home recording of the Dodd Family follows Song of the Family appropriately completes the album.
Dodd was schooled in the rough-hewn honkytonks and dancehalls that are as much a part of Lone Star life as the church and the farm.
“My buddies and I used to go hear Gary Stewart or Haggard or Willie, whoever was coming through,” he says.
“If Id grown up going to coffee houses, maybe the music would be different, but as it was, I came up with music you could dance to.
“I toured as a guitar player and back-up singer with Martina McBride. I opened shows for Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and Brooks & Dunn, and I worked with legends like John Hiatt, Kevin Welch and Radney Foster. People in Nashville picked up on my passion and I was glad to be there.”
HONKY TONK HISTORY
“When the sun went down we would sit and listen/ to the songs of the family/ songs of hope and love and Jesus/ it meant everything to me/ to see my mum and dad sing perfect two part harmony/ and the music they made still lives in me.” - Songs Of The Family - Deryl Dodd.
During the mid-90s, Dodd signed a publishing deal with BMG Music .
His Columbia debut, One Ride In Vegas , birthed the hit single That's How I Got To Memphis .
A self-titled follow-up album, released in 1998 featured the hit A Bitter End as he appeared on the brink of stardom.
But Deryl began having some troubling physical symptoms - fatigue and stress didn't explain why he was having trouble lifting his arms to comb his hair or play his guitar.
He was diagnosed with viral encephalitis, a debilitating brain disorder.
For the next six months Deryl was on twenty-four hour bed rest.
It took another year and a half of physical therapy before he was ready to perform again.
“That illness came about from me being out of balance,” Deryl recalled.
“I came from a spiritual background and I had gotten away from it, and I was losing my strength physically and spiritually. It upset me to think that to be an artist, I had to do things in a certain way that didn't agree with me. The veil was lifted, and I knew I had to get back home.”
Deryl insisted his third album be released on the Lucky Dog imprint - a boutique label dedicated to Texas-oriented acts such as Charlie Robison and Jack Ingram.
Though the album, Pearl Snaps , produced two #1 hits on the Texas music chart a split from Columbia was inevitable.
“That record I made for Lucky Dog got played in Texas a whole lot, so it made sense to move to Texas and establish things back there,” says Deryl.
“Luckily the guys in my band, The Homesick Cowboys , had been waiting for me to recover and moved down with me, so we started playing live again.
Deryl and the band recorded Live at Billy Bob's - the single appropriately titled Things Are Fixin To Get Real Good , was a Lone Star smash that remained in the Texas Charts top three for over twenty weeks.
The full-length studio record that followed, Stronger Proof , was picked up in 2004 by Dualtone - a major Nashville indie haven for artists such as David Ball, Roger Creager, Radney Foster, Jim Lauderdale and former label-mate Charlie Robison.
His second Dualtone disc Full Circle was released here in 2006 and scored limited ABC and community radio exposure and critical acclaim.
But that avenue has been limited down under.
Dodd's latest albums Together Again - August 25, 2009 and Random as I Am - July 5, 2011 - are out on Smith Entertainment in the U.S. but only available here as imports.
We hope to recharge memories of loyal honky tonk music radio fans by giving exposure to the singer, now 50, by showcasing his evocative video for Love Letters from Random As I Am on Nu Country TV on Channel 31, Digital 44.