Kelly Dees
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Kelly Dees

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"Suncoast Blues Society Review, May 2007"

Betcha you will be on the lookout for Kelly Dees and her Tampa Bay entourage after just one listen to Bettin' Woman recorded at Mike Conway's (drummer also on the CD) studio in Tampa. The first cut Jet Plane is a strong lead tune. It's a bouncy, happy song with great all around playing, especially the harmonica and keys. This first song makes you want to hop on a jet to some musical locale and just have a wild get away! This is indicative of the tone and mood of the entire CD. "Bettin' Woman" is "schmokin'" (saw this word used in Kelly's liner notes in regards to thanking keyboard extroardinaire Kevin Wilder).

Track 2 is entitled "I Wanna Rock" and truly it does! The title cut is an upbeat, hand clapping, funky number with great harp and fun lyrics, "If I was a bettin' lady, I'd tell you a few things". Good stuff! This slides into a lovely, sensual, slow burner entitled "Blues On a Tuesday" once again replete with great instrumentation. T. C. Carr accentuates and blows some tasty harmonica throughout this and the other tunes and Richy Kicklighter delights with delicious guitar licks. Let's not forget to mention Dale Horton on bass.

Slow embodies fun phrasing and is another dance tune. Gene Cannon appears with some sweet saxophone solos! Enjoy the mid-to-slow tempo. There'll Be A Day meanders and even evokes a gospel tinged feel. I like the trombone playing, too, by special guest Frankie J. On My Way takes a lilting, funky, jazzy diversion. I Will Be Happy is a lovely ballad with the great Dean Germain and his exquisite Hammond B3 and also has a great gospel feel to it. Listen for the sweet jazz tinkling ending the track named Blues Sister.

Theo Valentin and Richard Jackson, two of the Bay area's finest vocalists lend their expertise and talent as back up singers in this project. I really have been enjoying the diversity and the feel of this all original CD. It is a fine effort in every sense of the word. There seems to have been lots of love and dedication put into this musical project. I'll be a bettin' woman and guarantee you'll like this one! To learn more about Kelly Dees check out her websites: and

-Cheryl B. Mogul - Twelve Bar Rag

"The Phoenix Blues Society Review, July 2007"

The Myspace phenomenon is all around us, and one of its redeeming qualities is the way in which it allows musicians and blues societies alike the opportunity to have a web presence that otherwise might be beyond their reach. I’ve tried to create a one stop blues destination for our Phoenix Blues Society Myspace page and over the past year or so it’s served as an introduction to numerous artists from around the country who have become “friends� of PBS. One good friend is Kelly Dees of Tampa, Florida. Kelly is a champion of the organization, Saving Little Hearts, a group devoted to supporting children born with CHD (congenital heart defects) in part because her daughter, Hope, was born with multiple heart defects. It turns out that Hope’s mother is a talented blues singer as well, and she’s released a CD of all original tunes entitled Bettin’ Woman.

Harp work by T.C. Carr provides the introduction to “Jet Plane,� a song about shaking up life and making new choices. “Yea, I’m tired of the same day in and day out….got to find something new…and no one else can make it happen for me…I know that much is true.� Kelly’s solution is taking a jet plane to someplace new, experience a new adventure, and find a new story to tell. Her vocal is confident and her supporting band mates: Kevin Wilder on keyboards; Richy Kicklighter on guitars; Dale Horton on bass; Mike Conway on drums and Dean German on B3 let me know early that they are a tight group. “I Wanna Rock� finds Kelly in a party mood…�I wanna rock…I wanna roll…I wanna feel it way down deep inside my soul!� Kelly’s living in the moment and enjoying the party.

Up next, the title cut, “Bettin Woman,� finds Kelly convinced that her man will find a new love while she’s gone and then act like nothing happened when she returns. “Boy, I ain’t no fool…and I know you’re going to find it hard to believe…but I know just what to do…if I was a bettin’ lady…I’d first take out the trash…then I’d run to the bank…take out my funds and start spending all my cash!� Sounds like a sensible plan to me. A beautiful guitar intro by Kicklighter introduces us to the first ballad on Kelly’s record, “Blues on a Tuesday.� Hauntingly familiar, he carefully underscores Kelly’s sense of desperation. “No one really knows just what I’m feeling…no one really seems to care…sometimes I have to wonder…if anyone really knows…if I’m there…I’ve got these blues on a Tuesday!� “Blues on a Tuesday� is my favorite song on Kelly’s record and I truly appreciate the intricacy of Richy’s fret board work.
“Slow� features sax work by guest Gene Cannon as Kelly gives advice to her new man. “You know I like it like it is…every time we go to kiss…you know I like it like it is…come here baby…slow it down and do it just like this….take it nice and slow.� I love great sax and it’s good to hear some on Kelly’s record. “There’ll Be A Day� is the next ballad we hear and it points to the silver lining behind every cloud. “There’ll be a day you’re going to look back and smile….you’ll know all the sorrow and the hard times were worth all the while…you’ll feel that everything is as it should be.� There are times where a great broken heart leads us to the next great love, and “There’ll Be A Day� celebrates the truth in this.

A funky groove gets us moving in “On My Way.� “And there’s no way to travel but up from here…no place to take away all my fear…my future suddenly seems so very clear…and I’m on my way!� A song of optimism, “On My Way,� is a celebratory look at Kelly’s future and it appears to be bright. Another beautiful ballad, “I Will Be Happy,� features the delicate keyboard work of Kevin Wilder. The end of a relationship is always painful and it takes courage to move forward. “And I see the picture on the wall of the two of us….oh how we’ve changed…and I know that I’ll be happy…and this is the way it has to be…and darling I know it’s going to be such a sad scene to see…but you’ll be happier without me.� This is one good woman who never should have been set free.

“Blues Sister� chronicles Kelly’s travels as she explores her passion for the Blues. “My one concern was to hear and sing all things to do with the blues…and if you give me the chance…I’ll bring it all right here to you!� The objective here is longevity and Kelly is planning on being around for a long time to come. “I’m Alright� is Kelly’s anthem for today. “Things might could be better…but sure enough could be worse…I’m alright…and who knows…things might be looking up for me if I decide to make you mine.� Whether the relationship works or not is not important, Kelly has the confidence to handle the situation either way.

The final cut on Bettin’ Woman, “Rewarded," finds Kelly letting us know - Blues Bytes


Debut CD, "Bettin' Woman", 2006



Georgia-native Kelly Dees has always loved all kinds of music. She grew up singing and writing, learned to play piano, and played trumpet for several years in school. As she got older, she realized she had a true passion for the blues. After settling in Tampa, Florida in 1999, she started singing in local nightclubs, covering blues, jazz and R&B songs by some of her favorite artists. Her long list of musical influences includes Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Big Mama Thornton, and Susan Tedeschi.

In 2004, working closely with producer Mike Conway of MCR Studio in Tampa, Kelly began writing and recording her first album, which would later be called "Bettin’ Woman". Also the title of one of the first songs she wrote for the CD, Kelly felt that "Bettin’ Woman" was an especially appropriate title for this self-produced album, knowing that she was taking a risk. Now the gamble seems to be paying off.

Released in November 2006, "Bettin’ Woman" has received favorable reviews in "Blues Revue Magazine", Suncoast Blues Society’s "Twelve Bar Rag", and The Phoenix Blues Society’s "Blues Bytes". One song from her album was also chosen to appear on a compilation CD for National Women in Blues (WiB), for which Kelly feels especially honored.

"Bettin’ Woman" is an all-original blues album, but it also appeals to fans of funk, jazz and R&B. There are even a couple of gospel-inspired songs on the full-length CD. Tom Hyslop of "Blues Revue Magazine" writes, “Dees' intelligent songwriting has an appealing modern edge.” Backing Kelly on her album are well-known musicians Richy Kicklighter, T.C. Carr, Kevin Wilder, and Dale Horton.

Kelly is now writing the songs that will appear on her follow-up album. To quote one of her songs, “Blues Sister”, she’s “decided to stick around.” Visit Kelly’s website at