Deryl Dodd Biography
Dallas-born to a family who loved music (his parents along with his dad’s twin brother were a gospel trio), Deryl grew up on a real music - gospel, bluegrass, country and rootsy rock ‘n’ roll. He was heavily influenced by the soulful southern music at the Hasse Revival Center where his grandfather was pastor of the small town Pentecostal church. Deryl’s first performances were there, singing harmony with his three siblings. Guitar at age seven, banjo at thirteen, pedal steel at sixteen - the young Dodd’s hands nearly always gripped a stringed instrument. His father, a master electrician, perfected his skills with quality and high standards that were instilled in Dodd as a young man. As a teen, he was a laborer for a brick mason, a job which built a strong back as well as character.
While attending college in Lubbock and Waco, Dodd spent much time honing his musical chops on the side, as the music became his vocation. Cutting his teeth in local honky tonks as a musician and vocalist, Deryl soon became the front man for a Waco band. His enthusiasm and natural connection with the audience regularly drew crowds of up to a thousand.
Moving to Nashville in 1991 accelerated Dodd’s pace. Quickly hired as a lead guitarist and high harmony singer for Martina McBride, Deryl found himself rocketed from smoky clubs to giant stadiums when Martina opened for Garth Brooks (little did he know that in the near future, he himself would be opening for Brooks). As he refined his skills on the six-string, he also kept busy songwriting, working with the likes of John Hiatt, Kevin Welch and Radney Foster. Next came a 1993 publishing deal with BMG Music resulting in other artists recording his songs, including rewarding cuts on two of Tim McGraw’s multi-platinum albums. In 1994, Dodd joined up with Tracy Lawrence’s band to play rhythm guitar and harmony vocals. He was becoming well sought after by many artists, especially now finding himself in the studio recording background vocals with the likes of Martina McBride, Tracy Lawrence and Radney Foster. However, Dodd had plans to make his own music, and did. In 1995, he landed a recording contract with Columbia Records. The 1996 release of his first album, One Ride in Vegas, which spawned the hit single, “That’s How I Got to Memphis”, written by legendary storyteller Tom T. Hall, brought critical acclaim, national tours, and the applause of newfound fans. A serious contender had arrived.
Comprised of up-tempo rockers, gorgeous ballads, bluesy shuffles and stories in song, the 1998 follow up album, Deryl Dodd, built on the strengths of the native Texan’s debut. Critics from trade publications to USA Today hailed the newcomer a fresh voice straight out of traditional country. “They called me a ‘throwback,’ ” Deryl says, “and I’d joke that it meant they could throw me back if they didn’t like me. But I am country, it’s how I walk and talk. When I go back to my family’s farm in Comanche, Texas, I know that’s where my soul feels at home.” Deryl Dodd comes directly from that place - the dirt roads he remembers, the land that has “something untouched about it, something wild and open.” Deryl Dodd comes from the heart.
Tragically in February 1999, after a grueling schedule promoting the successful single, A Bitter End, Deryl developed viral encephalitis, a life-threatening illness which attacks the central nervous system. Following six months of frustrating immobility, Deryl has spent another year and a half rehabilitating in his struggle to return to his life and his music. What began as a devastating experience has given the singer/songwriter a new appreciation for the blessings each day has to offer. After a long recovery he is gratefully on the road and touring again with his band the Homesick Cowboys - his first invitation being the opening slot for the explosive Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Soul 2 Soul tour. Back in the studio in 2001 for his third album, Dodd moved himself from Columbia records to Sony’s new independent label, Lucky Dog, where he was able to have more creative freedom. He received much criticism from the industry, fearing it would appear as a demotion. But making his music is all he has ever been about, regardless of the perception. The 2002 release of Pearl Snaps was again critically acclaimed as his first two singles, Pearl Snaps and Honky Tonk Champagne reached the #1 spot on the Texas music chart. The album is comprised of two earlier hits, That’s How I got to Memphis and Bitter End and radio favored album cuts, Sundown and On Earth as it is in Texas. Dodd shows incredible instincts in knowing great songs that he didn’t write as well as those he does such as his new single, “She’ll Have You Back,” a modern day classic. You can’t manufacture authenticity and this man has plenty of it. His struggles as well as his highs in life go hand in hand with his music.
Dodd learned that the success of any artist requires giving more than 100%. “Leaving my home, family and friends is always an adjustment. However, I have found there is true healing power in the fans, the gigs, the nights we’re ‘in the zone’…it’s like this spiritual thing that takes my life to another level.”
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