Michael Dean Church
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Michael Dean Church

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"Review from 9513"

Newcomer Michael Dean Church enters as a serious contender to become country music’s first breakthrough “MySpace artist.” While Pop has seen grassroots support for artists like Lily Allen and Soulja Boy translate into critical and commercial success, the country music circuit has remained a bit behind the curve, utilizing the digital landscape more as a part of a label’s holistic marketing plan than as a breeding and testing ground for new acts.

And a big part of that genre-based tech gap has to do with demographics; country fans trend older, more rural, and more socially traditional than pop fans.

That makes Church’s online success even more impressive. The West Virginia native has acquired nearly 20,000 MySpace friends and his music has been streamed on the site nearly 700,000 times–huge numbers for an “unknown” country artist with zero traditional label-backing.

Church is now promoting his truly independent debut single, “Why Can’t You Forgive Me,” which has played to mostly positive reviews so far–and deservedly so; Church’s voice is well-refined, and a pleasing departure from the format’s current influx of “soul” informed singers.

But what remains to be seen is whether he will be able to parlay his online success into substantial terrestrial radio airplay. Even in the Pop examples I noted previously, it wasn’t until those artists signed with majors that radio took notice. And in that sense, Allen and Soulja Boy were able to use their online success in much the same way that artists have traditionally used independent album sales–as a way to show labels that they have both appeal and a built-in audience.

Church is trying to do something different–cut out the middle man entirely, and go directly to the audience.

And that’s a tough task, especially given that this isn’t a perfect song. It is not an undeniable smash hit that radio simply can’t ignore. It covers much the same ground (though in an entirely different tone) as Tracy Lawrence’s masterful “Unforgiven” (which failed commercially). And it struggles, lyrically, with facts, declaring that “Nixon…got off scott free,” (which is true, I guess, unless you consider that whole impeachment thing). The song also features a line about having forgiven the Dixie Chicks for “all that political mess”–a statement which shows a complete disregard for reality, as the country music industry most certainly has not forgiven its least-favorite Texans, Emily, Martie, and Natalie.

But these nitpicks are songwriting issues, and Church didn’t write this song. And although I would normally criticize an artist in this position for showing a lack of judgment in song choice, I have to pay attention to context here. Because as an unsigned, unproven artist, Church simply isn’t going to get the best songs in Nashville, and certainly not every song he would particularly like to have.

And despite its questionable fact-checking, this is a clever, funny, and up-beat song–a song that a truly independent artist, especially one who is not a songwriter himself, should feel very lucky to have.

- Jim Malec

"Scripts howard News papers"

Don Chance
Country Music Writer
TIMES RECORD NEWS/Scripps Howard News Service
"Live It Out Loud" by Michael Dean Church
Next rating - BThe
debut album by Georgia native Michael Dean
Church found its way to my desk in December. I'm not
completely sure how that happened, but I'm kinda glad
it did. In the downtime before the big labels begin
releasing their summer CDs, it's good to know that
real country music still exists in the country music
In a refreshingly varied set, Church shows he can go
from straight country to smooth country crooning to
gritty country blues, and never miss a beat with songs
like ""What Am I Crying For," ""I Won't Run," and
"Another Only One." And "Burned By The Same Fire
Twice" is as solid a country song as anything on the
In another time, "Live It Out Loud" could have been
a firm foundation to build a solid mainstream country
career on. Times have changed, but I still hope it helps
this new career.
PO Box 58181 – Nashville, TN – 37205 - (615) 799-8260 - emcnash@comcast.net - Scripps papers

"country stars online review"

Michael Dean Church - Live it Out Loud
Dream Church Records
Album Review by Cheryl H. Hill
This 6-foot-5 singer is making big waves with his first album. His bio states that when you
mix the traditional country and bluegrass influences of his native West Virginia combined
with the R&B-flavored soulful country of Atlanta and North Georgia, you begin to
understand the magic and unique vocal stylings of Michael Dean Church. Then when you
hear that he grew up in a home full of Gospel music (his grandfather was a preacher and
his parents recorded Gospel albums), the breadth of Church’s musical knowledge and
taste shines forth as an ideal combination for today’s Music Row and Country Radio.
Church says he aspires to be one of those brilliant country boys who hangs in there long
enough for radio and Music Row to fall in love with his music. He is off to a good start
since Steven Sharp and Chip Martin produced the album; Sharp has promoted more than
60 No. 1 singles including Alan Jackson’s very first number one. Church actually went to
Bakersfield to record several of the tracks with members of Buck Owens’ Buckaroos but it
is on the beautiful ballad from Sheri Austin called “Fools Like Us,” that was first cut by
Jason Sellers, that he really shines.
"It was sort of fate,” he said. “I had always wanted to move to Nashville, but I didn’t want
to be a starving artist, so it just so happened that a position in my field opened up so that
I was able to move.” A loan officer with a financial mortgage corporation, Church said
while his job pays the bills, it also gives him the flexibility to pursue his true calling …
music. "In this town, there are a thousand great singers, you just have to keep at it and
hope someone will get what you’re trying to do as an artist.” With a voice like his, I don't
think it will be long before he's trading his office for a stage.
Stand out tracks: "Fools Like Us," "What am I Cryin' For," "Another Lonely One," Burned
by the Same Fire Twice" - Country stars online

"Moby in the Morning Review"

"I was given about 20 demos at Country Radio Seminar. I promised myself and all those very talented young artists that I would listen to all of them on my way back to Atlanta. However,when I put in the Michael Dean Church CD, I was hooked. I just kept listening to it over & over. This is truly a Catchy song, sung by an amazing Vocalist! and I never made it any further in the stack, this was by far the Shortest Nashville-Atlanta trip I ever made"

MOBY From Moby in the Morning Syndicated Radio Host
- Moby


Why Cant You forgive me 4 song EP

Live it out loud (2005)



Michael Dean Church was born in a part of our country where hard work is just a part of everyday life. Welch, WV isn’t glamorous. Dreams there are filled with the day to day struggle of working coalminers trying to survive. The work is dark, dirty and dangerous; but it binds the community together like no other profession.

Families gather in small churches each Sunday where music becomes a food for their souls. Almost every family has at least one guitar player or banjo picker representing their family. Some family’s have those that can sing. You learn to appreciate your neighbor, developing the skills of respect and concern when you grow up there. All of this becomes a part of who you are.

On any given day, something could happen in a coal mine that would change your life forever. Church’s father was injured in a mining accident, while Church was just a toddler. Unable to continue mining, Church’s father worked in the mine as security. By the time Church was twelve, the local mines began to close, leaving his family no choice but to relocate to where work was available.

The Church’s packed-up the family, and headed for Rome, Georgia. There Michael Dean Church found himself in a whole new environment. Here the mountains didn’t block the radio waves. All types of music eagerly flowed into the Church’s home: country, blues, pop, R&B, and Gospel. Michael Dean Church soaked-up what he heard, singing to the radio, noticing, not just the rhythm and beat, but also the emotions that the singers expressed when they sang a lyric. He developed the ability to interpret the emotion of a song vocally, while still a young teenager.

Michael Dean Church explored his new found singing abilities in high school by joining the choir. He over came his self-conscious fears and near shy tendencies. In speaking about his first experience in front of an audience Church stated, “My knees were knocking, and I was terrified. But once I realized that I could effect people and make them happy, then, I was hooked.”

After graduating from high-school, Michael Dean Church began testing the waters by performing in the night clubs around Rome, GA. He developed a strong following of fans. After hearing the words “you should move to Nashville” from fans, family, and friends… Church decided it was time to follow the advice and move to Nashville.

But Nashville can be a tuff town to navigate. Breaking into the elite circle of influential industry professionals takes an extreme level of talent… and that’s just to get noticed. Trusting in his faith, Michael Dean Church knew that the right people would be there at the right time. After hours of singing demos, developing his song writing skills, and meeting with industry notables, providence shined down on Michael Dean Church. Producers Russ Zavitson and Tony Haselden took notice of Church’s talent and stepped into his life. Church’s ability to interpret song lyrics did not go unnoticed by them. Together they unlocked the doors that Church alone could never have opened. Suddenly top songwriters such as Amie Mayo, Steve Dukes, Jeb Anderson, Chris Lindsey and Brett James were bringing their songs to the table, creating the beginnings of a hit project.

Michael Dean Church is prepared, not only with faith and the determination to succeed, but also the talent, strong good looks, and fortitude to move to the forefront.

MICHAEL DEAN CHURCH is destined to succeed… He knows no other way to live!