Ira Dean is originally from North Caro- lina but found himself in Minneapolis/ North St. Paul, MN after his dad got a work transfer. He won a talent contest at the local bar when he was 12 years old and started playing around town with his brother, Billy Dean . Being a minor, he had to have a guardian. As a result, his mom would take him so he could perform. Dean’s brother talked their mom into allowing Ira to graduate early at 16 years old to go on the road playing drums for Billy’s band. Dean moved to Nashville in 1990 with his brother and a drum set. After his brother’s band broke up, Dean was headed home until he met John Carter Cash . “My rst year in town I was stay- ing with Johnny Cash , June Carter , and John Carter . Johnny was like a dad to me and mentored me as I got my ca- reer started,” Dean said. Dean got his foot in with top artists, such as, Tanya Tucker and the Carter Family . Johnny Cash would have Dean open his shows.
After being red from Tanya Tucker’s band in 1996, Ira and a good friend, Keith Burns , formed Trick Pony . Burns had the vision of a trio group made up of two male artists and one female. Heidi Newfield , a friend of Burns' wife, became the lead singer. Trick Pony be- gan playing all over the southern U.S. and signed a record deal with Warner Bros. Records in 2000. The trio released its debut album later that year and their rst single, “Pour Me” reached No. 12 on the Billboard country music chart. The next two sin- gles, “On a Night Like This” and “Just What I Do,” reached No. 4 and No. 13 on the country charts. The following year, in 2001, Trick Pony received Artist of the Year from the Country Music As- sociation. After the trio’s single “A Boy Like You” didn’t break the top 40, Trick Pony decided to change labels to Curb Records in 2004 so they could have more creative control of their music. Trick Pony released their third album, “R.I.D.E” and would see the singles, “It’s
a Heartache” and “The Bride,” break into the top 40.
Cheatham County Connection Dean left Trick Pony in 2008 and set out to be a solo artist. Since then he has written songs for Joe Nichols , Chris Young , ex-Pony Heidi Newfield , Jake Owen , Gary Allen and Montgomery Gentry , including their hit single “One in Every Crowd.” Dean moved to Cheatham County in 2003. He was looking for something that reminded him of Gentry, NC. He purchased 28 acres sight unseen and had no clue where it was until he re- turned home from touring. When the house across the street went up for sell, he quickly purchased it and moved his dad in. His dad lived there until he passed in 2007. Dean’s initial 28-acre farm has grown into 70 acres. When Dean isn’t touring, you can nd him in his deer stand, hunting turkey, and, surprisingly enough, playing golf.
Photos courtesy of Jenny Maybry Photography
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