"She's world class...she's exactly what we're about".
Greg Johnson - Blue Door, Oklahoma USA
"A Diamond Among Coal". " The Real Deal". "A Songwriters Songwriter"
Above are a few of the quotes music industry professionals have used to describe Donna Dean. The authenticity she shares on stage gives her audience the feeling their own stories or those of their friends, family or neighbors have been given a spotlight.
Songwriting requires certain gifts and a belief that there is something worth saying. There are songs written to formula aimed at charts or competition. Although Donna has had some remarkable industry 'wins', the motivation to continue writing, recording and performing after more than two decades is not tied to trophies but to loyal supporters who show up at gigs and to the seeds of creativity that still wake her in the early hours.
Many songwriting legends have inspired Donna's writing, among them, Iris Dement, Russell Smith, Guy Clark, Gillian Welch and John Prine. She credits her mother as the biggest influence on her childhood wish to play and sing. No surprise then that her mother's love of The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers at times filters through her performance.
Donna's song Destination Life is the title track of American 'Queen of Bluegrass' Rhonda Vincent's 2009 Grammy nominated album. Donna recorded an award winning album with Country Rock band The Amazing Rhythm Aces. She has toured with Jimmy Webb, Don McLean and songwriting legends of Soul, Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham.
Footage of a tour she did across the American Southwest in 2013 became a feature length documentary which premiered at the New Zealand Docedge Film Festival 2016. The film opened the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival, Canada 2017 and featured at the South Texas International Film Festival 2018.
Down In Eden Magazine called the film "a compelling and important social documentary". Read the full article here.