posted on March 14, 2010 11:31
March 13, 2010
By Deanna Brown - Corsicana Daily Sun
Corsicana — Deryl Dodd isn’t part of the Nashville “machine” by choice — he is a true artist, devoted to his craft, his music, and his fans.
To kick off the Navarro County Youth Exposition, Dodd will appear in concert at the Navarro County Exposition Center starting at 7 p.m. Friday with the opening act of Chris Dyer and Ryan Payne performing together.
Dodd will take center stage about 8:15 p.m., and play “until everybody is dancing.”
The idea for a kickoff concert originated with Leon Tates, who thought it would be a creative way to raise money for NYCE during a down economy year. Tates rounded up some sponsors, who are paying Dodd — who is taking a reduced fee — so that 100 percent of ticket sales may go to the NCYE.
“It’s not just a slow economy, but all the rain has hurt agricultural enterprises, too,” Tates said.
It is a family event, which means no alcohol is allowed on the premises at the Navarro County Exposition Center. Tates said grandma and the kids are welcome, bring your lawn chairs, and they will pack down the dirt in the arena to make it more conducive to dancing.
Where else could you see an artist of Dodd’s caliber for only $10 general admission?
“I am living the dream, and touching lives,” Dodd said. “That’s my motive.
“Playing music for me is a way to connect, bring some happiness, and inspire. I just hope the audience takes it with them home, and to the workplace. Music is my gift, and I certainly receive gifts in return.”
Both Dodd’s grandfathers were Pentecostal preachers, who also had musical talent. His mother and father sang together in church, all the family played instruments, some multiple instruments, and his great uncle played with the Light Crust Doughboys. Dodd himself started playing guitar, banjo and piano at an early age, entirely by ear.
“I can’t read a lick of music,” he said. “It’s just all in my head. I can hear a song, then play it.”
He started writing songs while in high school, then gave it more attention in college. While a student at Baylor University, buddies encouraged Dodd to play more venues.
“I had lots of friends who supported me, and pushed me to get on stage,” Dodd said. “I’d get up there and play all the songs I knew, plus a few I’d written. Even then, it was the connection with the audience that kept me going back for more.”
Dodd left college and spent some time working for Southwest Airlines, still not considering music as a profession. When some friends formed a band and decided to go for “the big time,” Dodd quit his job, packed his truck and joined them. About six months later, he learned what “creative differences” was all about when the band split up.
A move to Nashville landed Dodd his first big job with Martina McBride in 1992. They opened for Garth Brooks, who was the biggest name at the time. Liking the way Dodd’s voice blended with McBride’s, the producer of her album invited Dodd to sing on it with her. Dodd played for Tracy Lawrence for a couple of years, and met many other artists, which tends to “legitimize” an artist in the business, he said.
“I was ready to play my own music, do my own thing,” Dodd said.
Sony-Columbia offered Dodd a record deal in 1995, and everything changed. Being told what to wear, what to sing, where to stand, and so forth did not sit well with Dodd. He resisted being thrown into what he refers to as “the machine” of formulaic music coming out of Nashville. He made three albums with Sony and left.
“It’s not about rebellion,” he said, trying to set the record straight. “I guess I’m just a purist. I wanted creative control over my own music, and the ‘art’ gets out there, one way or another.”
“That’s How I Got to Memphis” was Dodd’s first big hit, followed by “Sundown,” and “Bitter End.” All were hits on the country music charts.
About that time, the Texas music scene started “really blowing up,” and Dodd wanted to get in on that. His last album with Sony was geared more toward a “Texas music” sound.
“The first single was ‘Pearl Snaps,’ which went number one, but the label dropped me,” he said. “I was going against the stream coming back to Texas, even though I’m from here.
“I gave up the ‘big time’ and the big contract and stayed true to my music. That gave me immediate acceptance to the Texas scene, which had become a formidable movement by that point.”
Dodd admires the “men and women of the great state of Texas” who stayed true to their music and rejected the “corporate way.”
“It’s music that is fresh and new and true, and audiences respond to that,” Dodd said.
After leaving Sony-Columbia, Dodd recorded “Live at Billy Bob’s,” and the single “Things are Fixin to Get Real Good,” went up the charts quickly. He did two albums with Dual Tone, an independent label, which netted Dodd several singles that received heavy air play.
Dodd’s newest album, which was released last summer, was named for the title track, an old Buck Owens’ song, “Together Again,” which Dodd changed up a bit.
“I don’t really care about chart numbers, just that people get to hear it, and that it gets inside you,” he said. “If it moves me, I know it will move others.
“If you’re true to yourself, and have humility ...” he said, trying to express his thought. “I want to be the best I can be. We all want to do something good while we’re here. I try to stay true to myself, my music, and my values.
“I’m thankful and honored to be a part of this youth show, and help out where I can.”