My guests today are Northwest duo, Ann and Dean Brittain, who have just produced their first CD, “Exactly What You Wanted.” Congratulations, Dean! What inspired you to produce a CD?
I have always wanted to have a collection of original songs, and was never able to get it done as a band project, so I ended up doing it by myself. I have been working on some these songs for forty years, and yet some of them were written in the last few years. It’s pretty much a lifetime of work. This particular collection groups the ones that I think fit the best together from the county/southern rock style of music I’ve written.
How long did this process take?
I spent two years, off and on, in the studio. I had to take a break when it was time to add the steel guitar and fiddle, and had to find some studio musicians who played the right style.
I understand you’ve been performing and writing songs for quite some time. How did you get started in the music business?
It started in the fifth grade with a flute. When I was about 14 my uncle, Sam Woods, taught me some guitar, and the rest as they say is history. The line in “My Overnight Success” about “my uncle played a flat top” comes from that beginning.
I know this is not your “day job.” How often and where do you perform?
Ann and I play mostly at Eagles, Elks, American Legions, etc. We usually play about two weekends a month. We don’t want to play music every weekend, because we like to dance so much, as well as listen to other bands and go to concerts. I also fill in as a side musician on guitar and bass with some of my friends.
When did you write your first song and what was it? (Is it on the album?)
The first song I remember writing is “Sleep Talking”, and no, it’s not on this CD. “Beech Nut”, which is on the CD, was written about the same time, during the 60’s .
How would you classify your music?
This CD is a mix of country, both old and new styles, and some southern rock.
What other musicians have inspired you?
Oh boy, I like everything from country to jazz. For the main inspirations for this group of songs it would be artists like Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffet, Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith. From the rock side, it would have to include the Doobey Brothers and John Fogerty.
Who do you write or sound like?
I think most of my songs are pretty much my own style, as well as the way I play and sing. I think they really are quite unique, and I don’t try to sound like anyone else, I just try to be myself.
What instruments do each of you play?
I play guitar, bass and saxophone, plus doodle on the drums and keyboards. Ann plays keyboards. We both sing.
Ann, you add your voice to the vocals both in your gigs and on the CD. I liked your harmony in “Turn Back the Time.” Do you have a background in music? How did you get started?
I was a late bloomer musically, although I’ve always enjoyed listening and dancing. I made the mistake of telling Dean that I’d always wanted to play piano.
One day I came home and found an electronic keyboard set up in my living room. I guess Dean thought it was time for me to quit talking about it and actually do it!
That was about 15 years ago. I doodled around with the keyboard until I couldn’t go further without instruction, took some lessons and the next thing I knew I was on stage performing.
Which song on the CD is your favorite and why?
Dean: “Turn Back The Time” has the most meaning to me. It was written for a cousin who was more like a brother to me. He passed away about fourteen years ago at forty eight after a long battle with cancer. I like dancing to “Venus and Mars” the best.
Ann: I’d have to go with “Turn Back the Time because” I understand how much it hurt Dean to lose his cousin. Actually I was afraid I’d have a problem singing it because it’s such an emotional song for me.
Do you plan to make more CDs or what is your hope for the future in the music business?
I will likely start putting together the next CD next fall. I hope it doesn’t take forty years to get the next group of songs together.
Ann and I are considering a year long vacation in our motor home, playing at every town we stop at. If we can put it together, we will go through all the lower forty eight states, spending a week or so at each stop.
We are also considering spending winters in the southwest, playing at retirement parks in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
That sounds like a lot of fun. I hope your music and travel dreams come true! The CD is available from Dean and Ann.