Chesapeake Bay area songstress Deanna Dove has never chosen the pensive folkie route; as she bursts with energy from the get go of her solo show rocking like a full band. Dove’s deep, melodic voice sings about everything from going out to catch some crabs to telling men she’s not going to be their maid.
Half of the material for Dove’s powerful and sassy style comes from her boating background. Having grown up on Broomes Island, Md., as a child she helped her father build a 16-foot flat-bottom skiff. The story and segue into the song Take Me Back always leave the listener’s mouth a gape describing her childhood experiences when the crab and oyster population was overwhelming.
The powerful Mean Streak was recently accepted into the video game Rock Band, while You Guys aired twice this year on the Today Show. Songs such as Peace, Love & Crabs, Shallow Minded Power Boat Folk, Lula J, and Jam Up & Jelly Tight all provide a fun and catchy vibe and have everyone singing and joining in on the hand jive. Dove’s performance is infectious and exudes her spirit for entertaining and commanding her audience.
Chesapeake showcases Dove’s skill at crafting songs, while Going, Going, Gone and Cheshire Grins and Mango Dreams reveals her knack for composing popular melodies. Dove’s seductive croon tells a mysterious tale in Stalemate while Original Sin oozes with raw emotion both leaving listeners wallowing in their own memories. Catching a Deanna Dove performance is like a day at the beach, a roll in the hay or just a lazy day in the hammock!
When at home, Dove performs in her hometown in an activist role in support of public awareness for restoring and preserving the Chesapeake Bay. For more information about Dove’s recordings, please visit www.deannadove.com.
Deanna Dove - Vocal, Guitar
Chesapeake - radio airplay, film and advertisements
Peace, Love & Crabs - film, radio & tv
Rock of My Roots - Gospel
Merry Christmas, Dahling! - Christmas Covers
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Dual loves of music and the Chesapeake keep Deanna Dove singing — when she's not out fishing, that i...Dual loves of music and the Chesapeake keep Deanna Dove singing — when she's not out fishing, that is.
Written by Noi Mahoney & Kathy H. Ely Photography by Kirsten Beckerman
Deanna Dove greets me at the door of her North Beach, Md., home looking ready to head to Margaritaville. She’s clad in flipflops, bikini, and a Hawaiian print sarong. Her sun-bleached hair seems made to order for this singer/songwriter, who’s been called the “female Jimmy Buffett of the Chesapeake.”
“Where’s your shorts?” she asks sweetly. “You can’t go in a boat wearing khaki pants.”
Soon, Dove is piloting my khaki pants and me on a cruise down the Patuxent River aboard her eighteenfoot Thomas cruiser, the Chesapeake Dove. She steers the boat through waters she’s known forever, pointing out coves and creeks that she discovered as a little girl growing up on Broomes Island. Her dual loves, she tells me, are music and the water, which she has combined in her first album, Chesapeake, released in 2003. This summer, she’s reprising it as part of the “Songs of the Chesapeake” tour around the region, which benefits the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, among others.
Dove’s earthy, clear voice blends rock’n’roll, country, and R&B with warmth and clarity. Musicians as diverse as Kitty Wells and Bonnie Raitt, Ray Charles, and James Brown inspire her style. She says she knew her musical calling at an early age. “I was doing the ‘singing with the hairbrush thing’ in front of the mirror as a kid. And I grew up in a musical household,” Dove says. “Mom played the piano and Dad sang, and my sisters and I sang together.”
The kids made early recordings as the Dove Sisters Trio, when Deanna was twelve, for a Sunday morning “March of Faith” segment on WMJS, Calvert County’s first radio station. The young trio sang popular gospel hymns at talent shows, telethons, and church revivals. “It was a beautiful harmonious sound that I would love to duplicate again,” she says.
After singing in other numerous bands (Snafu, Nick Danger & the Untouchables, Deanna Dove and Blues Power), she set out on a solo career in 1998, going full-time two years later. “When I was a little girl, my father told me ‘It’s a rough world out there—go out and find yourself a job.’ Music was what I was put here to do.” She took his advice to heart.
It took a couple more years, but she wrote the songs and produced “Chesapeake” herself, using about $5,000 of her own money. She founded a record label in the process, Island Girl Records, to avoid having to deal with the mainstream record business. “I do it all, my own booking, promotions, and advertising. I’ve never made enough of a connection with a manager that could represent me for who I am.”
It was love, inspiration, and a little heartbreak that led to her first album. The eponymous title song is an ode to the end of a relationship that left her wounded but also gave her a newfound outlook on life. “‘Chesapeake’ took me three days of writing sitting at my kitchen table. They always say heartbreak leads to great art, and so many people tell me they relate to ‘Chesapeake.’” It’s now the theme song of WRNR’s weekly show “Voices of the Chesapeake Bay.”
“Deanna Dove is genuinely passionate about the Chesapeake Bay, and that energy comes through loud and clear through her music,” says Michael Buckley, “Voices” producer. “Her upbringing on tiny Broomes Island is recreated with full color and dimension in songs like “Lula J” and the Springsteen-come-Buffettesque anthem ‘Chesapeake.’”
This summer she’s hoping to do a concert tour of cities along the Bay. “I want to do a tour by boat, just pull up to town and let people come on board for the concert. I want to do it to raise awareness of the Chesapeake Bay, to help sustain it and raise awareness on how to protect it.”
Although a sponsor for that venture has yet to materialize, Dove still plays more than four times a week, up and down the East Coast, from the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City to clubs in the Florida Keys. Locally, she plays at Mangos at Herrington Harbour South Marina, Red Eye’s Dock Bar on Kent Island, and Calypso Bay Restaurant and Dock Bar in Tracey’s Landing.
These days, she’s also in the studio recording a gospel album of traditional Southern gospel songs, to, as she puts it, “lay down my roots.” It’s a full schedule, but she says, “I’m trying to cut back somewhat to concentrate on my writing and fishing, although I’m really a true crabber.”
As we pull up to the dock, the island girl is clearly in her element: “I can remember going out crabbing with my family every evening and returning with bushels that we caught with dip nets. I would give anything to see that plenty again. I will go to great lengths to raise awareness for ‘my’ Chesapeake.”
Chesapeake Girl Makes Good
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Volume 15, Issue 44 ~ November 1 - November 7, 2007 Chesapeake Girl Makes Good Deanna Dove’s born ...Volume 15, Issue 44 ~ November 1 - November 7, 2007
Chesapeake Girl Makes Good
Deanna Dove’s born by the Bay, recorded in Nashville and singing the gospel
by Rob Goskowski
If the Bay had a soundtrack, Deanna Dove would be at the top of the playlist.
Her first album, titled Chesapeake, lent the theme song to WRNR’s long-time Sunday morning feature, Voices of the Chesapeake. She backs up the words she sings with action, regularly singing the waders into the Patuxent River at former Sen. Bernie Fowler’s annual measure of the river’s clarity. You hear her at every Bay-themed concert, and you hear Bay-themed songs every time she plays. Her website’s even got an Activism link.
The busy local singer released her second full-length original album, a breezy and mellow disc entitled Peace, Love & Crabs, at an autumnal CD release party at Calypso Bay, a waterfront hangout and tiki bar in the southern regions of Anne Arundel County near her Calvert home in North Beach.
The cheeky album title, listed as Peace, Love & Crabs (and Beer) inside the CD cover, belies some of the serious topics Dove writes about, for she shows a depth that goes beyond Buffet-esque drunk-in-the-sun ditties.
A week later, the prolific performer released another album online, a compilation of her favorite gospel songs called Rock My Roots.
“I sang on the local radio station with my two sisters, The Dove Sisters Trio, on a Sunday morning radio show on WMGS years ago,” Dove said. “That was part of my growing up and part of my roots that I wanted to lay down on record.”
Both are results of Dove’s trip to Nashville a year ago.
“My plan was to find a perfect producer-partner,” says Dove. “From there, I would go into the studio and record a Christmas and a gospel album because I’ve been playing those songs over time and wanted to capture them.”
Peace, Love & Crabs was not part of the plan. When Dove made her pilgrimage in October 2006, she had an agenda focusing on music that others had written.
“I had files and files of uncompleted songs, but I had no idea I was going to do the originals or get them in any form to record,” Dove said.
Finding a producer in Nashville, the capital of the country music business, can be as easy as picking up a phone book. Dove found hers — the mono-named ZIG — through her landlady, who sang for the same producer.
Dove sat in on a recording session before she gave ZIG her CD. They started work the next day.
“By the time we finished with the gospel and Christmas records,” she recalls, “my producer said, ‘Deanna, you don’t want to spend your time and waste your money on something that you’ve already done. Write those songs.’”
She took ZIG’s advice. Her first order of business was to become very hard to reach.
“I have to be completely focused when I write, and I had that in Nashville,” said Dove. “I was out of town, so I didn’t have any friends stopping in and distracting me.”
The songs trickled forth despite her initial apprehension; then she battled her apprehension some more. “I was a little skeptical after the first five songs that I’d be able to do five more, but they came,” she explained. “It’s a struggle to get the songs out sometimes.”
New material in hand, she hit the studio again, pulling aside the Nashville session players as they set up their instruments to describe her influences and the sound she sought.
“For example, I told the guitar player that I really like Mark Knopfler of Dire Straights. That sound reminds me of the water,” Dove said. “After that, it was up to them to use their creativity to make it fit. They can’t tell me how to sing, and I didn’t tell them specific riffs to play. I had to give them the freedom to do what they do best.”
The Nashville sound is undeniable on Peace, Love & Crabs, blending well with Dove’s warm vocals and acoustic strumming. One of the album’s strengths is its varied approach to its three-part theme.
Love, for example, gets serious, cautionary treatment in the song “Lay Down With Dogs.”
“That’s a saying my father used to us girls,” said Dove. “I read this book called Unhooked, by Laura Sessions Stepp, about how girls today between 15 and 21 out there in today’s culture are pursuing sex and delaying love and end up losing both. It’s a sad situation, so I tried to address that and hopefully have a positive influence on young girls that hear my music.”
The tongue-in-cheek “Shallow Minded Powerboat Folk,” poke fun at sailors who turn their noses up at those who rely exclusively on engines.
The title track captures the spirit of a typical weekend on the Chesapeake, a pastime in which Dove has qualifications.
Her album release party at Calypso Bay “seemed casual,” said fan Mike Mullican of Churchton. “I mean that in a good way. It was like being on vacation, where everybody has that thing going where they’re more friendly than they usually are.”
The music of Rock My Roots is a contemporary homage to the songs of Dove’s youth. She sings standards like “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art” with an airy reverence over acoustic arrangements.
“The gospel CD was recorded with a front porch feel,” Dove said. “I’m trying to give the feeling of everyone sitting around playing their instruments acoustically.”
Dove hopes to take Rock My Roots to the stage; her first venue will be churches, where she plans to offer the CD at half the price of her other albums to win listeners.
The Christmas CD is a contrast from the gospel CD with its up-tempo, upbeat renditions of tunes like “Please Come Home For Christmas” and “Santa Baby.”
“Some of the songs will definitely surprise the listener as they bring a lively spin to the slower versions,” Dove said. “Because these songs are so very familiar and I have sung them all my life, I would have to say that the Christmas CD highlights my best vocal work.”
Dove is headed back to Nashville to touch up a couple of tracks before she releases that one, “hopefully by Thanksgiving.” In the meantime, only Dove, ZIG and their studio mates know what Christmas àla Dove will sound like.
Dove still sings the Bay, but she returned from Nashville with a new versatility and three albums to prove it: one to play with on Friday nights, one to pray with on Sunday mornings and a third to stuff in Christmas stockings.
Hear Deanna Dove online at www.deannadove.com.
Deanna Dove Homegrown Bay Girl Sings the Songs of the Chesapeake
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The first time I heard Deanna Dove, she was playing a gig at my home marina. Every Sunday at Mango... The first time I heard Deanna Dove, she was playing a gig at my home marina. Every Sunday at Mango’s in Herrington Harbor, the management brought in a musician to entertain the afternoon sunbathers and boaters sucking down frozen Herrington Hurricanes. Her deep alto voice caught my ear immediately, for after hearing one too many ho hum troubadours singing Buffett cover tunes, Dove’s voice was a welcome change.
Dove played guitar expertly, backing her music with an electronic beat. Her rich tone and stage presence showed this wasn’t her first time playing in front of a crowd. Within a few lines, I found myself singing along to the title track to her CD ‘Chesapeake’, though it was the first time I had ever heard the song.
Dove’s signature sound reflects her Chesapeake Bay upbringing. She grew up on the shores of the Patuxent River in Broomes Island, MD. She loved the waterfront life, fishing and crabbing with her Dad and getting dirty in the river mud like only a child of the Chesapeake can.
Though other musicians write about the Chesapeake, few capture it in verse like Deanna Dove. Waterfront life, rivers, the bay and the happy memories of her childhood are the inspiration for her lyrics.
“These songs are my base, for nobody can write these songs like me,” says Dove. “They weren’t there, they didn’t live it.” Dove lived and breathed the Bay. Her father worked as a waterman in the summer and Deanna wanted to go out with him every time the boat left the dock.
“In the evenings, we would go down to Sadie’s, which my Aunt owned at the time and climb aboard the skiff I helped my Dad build,” says Dove recalling the riverfront restaurant that is now known as Stoney’s Crab House. “Crabs were so plentiful back then we had to make ourselves come in, either that or we would run out of baskets.”
Dove’s roots rock has earned her the unofficial title of the female Jimmy Buffett of the Bay. Like Buffett, she writes her own music and plays to the regular crowd of her fans, which could be referred to as Dove-heads, dressed in breezy tropical attire, much like Buffett’s parrotheads.
Her songwriting has been recognized by the music industry, earning an honorable mention in last year’s John Lennon Songwriting contest for the lyrics to her ballad ‘Rivers Flow to the Sea’. Songs like ‘Back to the Island’ reflect her going home again to Broome’s Island, but to the listener, it could be about any favorite island paradise.
Though Nashville has come knocking, she resists moving to the home of country music because she loves where she lives.
“I like the openness and feel of being right on the Bay,” says Dove. “I keep saying and I know I probably should move to Nashville for my music, but whenever I am there I get kind of claustrophobic.” Music and the waterfront have been part of her entire life, for from Dove’s perspective, what would one be without the other?
Dove started singing as a child. Every Sunday, she sang in church with her sisters as part of the Dove Sisters Trio. They sang gospel with Deanna on electric guitar, performed at local fairs and festivals, and played regularly on a local radio station. But as her sister’s interest in music waned, Deanna’s love for music grew with her as she listened to blues artists like Bonnie Raitt, Van Morrison, and Etta James, always looking for her own sound.
Dove spent over a decade working for the government, commuting an hour to Washington, DC and then playing music on weekends. But she always felt her music was more important than any job or relationship. So two and a half years ago, she came to a decision that it was time to try and make a go at music full time. Fortunately for her fans, she has been able to make a living performing at area venues.
“I had been singing all my life and always wanted to do it,” says Dove about committing to her music as a career. “So I finally decided it was now or never time, and so I gave myself a time frame, set my goals and now I am doing it all.” Which includes being her own publicist, booking agent, and public relations marketer. Though she admits she sometimes get overwhelmed, she doesn’t regret for a moment her decision to be a musician.
When Dove isn’t playing music at venues throughout the mid-Atlantic, she is writing or producing records with her own production company, Island Girl Records. When time allows, she teaches vocal and guitar to area students through the music stores. Much of her time is spent on the road, traveling to gigs.
Earlier this year, she performed at Norman Island in the British Virgin Islands for a sailing regatta, staying aboard a catamaran. She has also played at the Taj Mahal and Trump Marina in Atlantic City, NJ. She is currently planning a regional tour which includes stops in the eastern US and into Texas. Her ten year plan includes more CD’s, touring, and playing music in outdoor venues. Her dream is to live aboard a large boat, traveling from port to port, playing music.
Dove is an avid boater but lately, hasn’t had time to go out on the boat at the family dock on Broome’s Island. Instead, she takes off in her kayak to get her water fix and a little exercise. A boating babe with a voice a clear as the sea. Now that’s our kind of girl!
Deanna Dove’s CD ‘Chesapeake’ is available through her website www.deannadove.com.
Typical set runs approximately 1 hour including the following songs:
Jam Up & Jelly Tight
Peace, Love & Crabs
In The Blue Hour
Take Me Back
Shallow-Minded Power Boat Folk
Lay Down With Dogs
Cheshire Grins and Mango Dreams
Back To The Island
River of Tears
Rivers Flow To The Sea
Covers are typically rock
There are no upcoming dates at this time.