My Tribute to Johnny Cash
BILL DEWEY BIOGRAPHY Bill Dewey is a singer/songwriter/musician born in the Midwest USA. 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. 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 some lessons in second grade, but the teacher stopped offering lessons to the class before Dewey could get a good grasp on technique. Then in high school, he again took a few lessons, 'got a grasp', and it stuck. Now 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 really, 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 a nursing facility, [his grandmother was a resident there], that person's name was Shirley Suby. The two became friends right away. 'She was stricken with polio while still a child, and 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 I remained great friends. She was a wonderful person, and a great inspiration.' About this time, friends of Dewey's who had a local band invited him to guest perform at a few of their gigs. At that point, his professional career in music had begun. A year or so later he 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. They played as much as they could, anywhere they could. Dewey was also writing his own songs and 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. He grew to love all types of music, from big band to hard rockers. In the field of hard driving rock and roll, KISS is the definite favorite among others. Incidentally, while all this was going on, to make a living other than being a local professional musician, Bill hired out to farmers and also worked in the grocery business. Next, the opportunity came 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'. They continued a busy schedule of gigs on the local regional circuit. This eventually led to an invitation to perform at a tribute to Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper, and pilot Roger Peterson. The three stars and their pilot perished in a plane crash after a concert in Feb. 1959, now regarded as 'the day the music died'. The tribute show gave Dewey national attention. Enough attention, that for a time he was slated to portray Ritchie Valens in a movie which was to be 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 building 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. Besides attracting people to the shows, Bill and his group received attention from some heavy hitters in the music business. Those relations still continue. According to them, the main attraction [besides his music], is Dewey's stage presence. One thing which sets Bill apart from some others is his group's constant attempt to exude a professional attitude. He and the band maintain a dress code, and are there for the people. It's a serious thing. 'We like to leave the venues with sore fingertips and feet and tired right out. Then we feel we have done our job, and we'll play even harder the next time.' Dewey also attended some college to further his musical knowledge. Studying very hard he managed to earn a 4.0 GPA. Very soon he would follow direction from his management and move 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. 'The whole story will have to wait until I write my book before I can tell it all. Some of it is stranger than fiction!' Upon getting settled in Tennessee, Bill again worked in the grocery field for a day job. Eventually he moved into the residential and commercial construction business. Bill specialized in metal stud framing and drywall hanging and finishing. At the same time, to start things off musically in Nashville, Dewey joined a rockabilly four piece combo. They played all over Nashville and surrounding areas. An album released by that group 'Justin Curtis-Rockabilly in 3-D", would have Bill on lead guitar. Jack Hale, [a former member of Johnny Cash's band], became Dewey's producer. They began recording Dewey's original material, and a quest to gain attention. He ended up getting some too; narrowly missing a spot on Nashville major label [Mercury]. He has been considered by others as well, and came real close a few times, but was told at the time his style wouldn't always fit in a 'mainstream country' category. However, interest in his artistry is still current and ongoing. Currently, Bill continues writing, recording, performing, shopping his material, and promoting. He was a member of several bands in the 90's as a lead guitar player and singer, performing at many locations in Tennessee and the Southeast U.S.A. Most recently, he is back working again with his band [The Dynammics] performing in the upper Midwest, looking forward to traveling nationwide and beyond. 'At first I thought I'd start a new group in Nashville. But then I decided to free-lance it. This taught me a lot because I was able to meet and work with many musicians and get lots of experience I perhaps wouldn't have received working with the same group all of the time. So, it allowed me to cover a lot of new ground.' For 'the rest of the story', and current events, stay tuned to 'NEWS' page, and continue to visit Bill Dewey.com!