Billy Dean Parties For "America"

Billy Dean with wife Stephanie, January 12, 2009, at a party celebrating the release of the CD, This Is My America. Photo by Bev Moser, courtesy of AristoMedia.

Jan. 13, 2009 — Billy Dean and a plethora of songwriters, producers and musicians turned out Monday in Nashville for a party celebrating This Is My America, an ambitious three-CD project that attempts to teach and entertain at the same time.
The album, which spans three hours in listening time but more than two centuries in national development, enlisted more than 300 people, including Billy, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Kathy Mattea, fiddler Mark O’Connor and former Ambrosia vocalist David Pack.
The volume of contributors impressed former Los Angeles resident Fred Knobloch, best known as one-third of the 1980s band Schuyler, Knobloch & Overstreet.
"There’s film crews that have done major movies that are smaller than that," he said.
The party was held, appropriately, at the Ocean Way Studios on Music Row. The room was the site for at least one My America recording session with the Nashville Symphony, in which 82 musicians were stuffed in the room. The facility represents a unique mix of commercial and educational excellence: It’s hosted recordings by Brooks & Dunn, Lee Ann Womack and Brad Paisley, and it’s also owned by Belmont University, which uses it for its music business program.
Education is one of many goals for This Is My America.
"I learned, I guess, things that I should’ve learned when I was in school," said producer Brian White, author of the Neal McCoy hit "Billy’s Got His Beer Goggles On."
Executive producer Douglas Hutton, a native Canadian, has high hopes for the project. He expects it to become a TV special and to be developed as a theatrical production appropriate for Las Vegas or for Broadway.
Guitarist Harold Bradley, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, was on hand for the party at Ocean Way, along with a busload of contributing songwriters who own a passel of hits. They included Beth Nielsen Chapman ("This Kiss"), Jim Weatherly ("Midnight Train To Georgia"), Rory Bourke ("You Look So Good In Love") and Wood Newton ("Bobbie Sue").

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