Dean began his music career at age five, learning to play the piano from his
father. While attending a concert by his cousins the Osborne Brothers, Dean
fell in love with Bluegrass music. At age fourteen he got his first banjo, a
Hondo II. In 1980, Dean graduated from his Hondo II to a 1979 Gibson Mastertone
and formed his first band, the "Thousandsticks Express". The band, named after
Dean's family homeplace in Leslie County, Kentucky, played until 1986, when the
first version of the "Eastbound Band" was formed. During the 1990's, Dean
played a Rich and Taylor "Sonny Osborne" model banjo (#95122). He now plays a
limited-edition Osborne Chief, number 41, which was custom made by Frank Neat.
About the time that the "Eastbound Band" was formed, Dean began promoting shows
in the Lexington, Kentucky area. In 1990 he started what is now known as "The
Red Mule Bluegrass Festival". In 1994 he started the
Osborne Brothers Hometown Festival in Hyden, Kentucky to celebrate the
career and contribution of the Osborne Brothers to Bluegrass music. The Osborne
Brothers Hometown Festival was nominated for the IBMA Festival of the year in
2001. Also in 2001, Dean founded the
J.D. Crowe and the New South Bluegrass Festival in Wilmore, Kentucky.
Dean has shared the stage with some of the most well-known names in
the Bluegrass world, including the Osborne Brothers, J.D. Crowe and Ralph
Stanley. He has also recorded as a guest artist with Richard Bennett and
appears on Rebel Records first "Live" video featuring Richard and Wanda
Bennett, Randall Barnes and Phil Leadbetter.
Dean has an album entitled "Kentucky Son", which was released in 2000 by
Pinecastle Records. He is now preparing, along with the other members of the
band, to tour and record in 2003.
In his spare time, Dean enjoys training Tennessee Walking Horses, collecting
antiques, instruments, vinyl records and bluegrass memorabilia. He also spends
time restoring an 1893 house in downtown Lexington, Kentucky.