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Reviews & Press
CD Review “Have You Heard” - The Chesapeake Music Guide by Michael Macey
Peace, Love & Crabs is a collection of often autobiographical songs set on and around the Chesapeake Bay. Dove, a singer/songwriter who grew up on the shores of the Bay, offers some personal thoughts on life, death, love(s), crustaceans, and powerboats, The title track tells the story of a woman who “can’t wait to get out on the boat and cruise around all day, playing guitar tonight for all her friends, singing Peace, Love & Crabs on the bay.” It’s a cherry little number that describes what sounds like a typical day for Dove, who proclaims “what can I say, what can I say, we love living on this waterway.” The crab theme carries over to Take Me Back to the Days of My Youth, a mid tempo acoustic rocker that recalls Dove’s days as a young girl on the water. As someone who’s witnessed firsthand the general decline of the area’s waterways, she reminisces about the abundant shellfish harvests of yesteryear, while also lamenting their loss. She goes from “More crabs and oysters then you could ever use” and “Bushel baskets overflowing with crabs on the loose” to “Well it’s hard to believe when I look back now, how we let things get this way, oh please tell me how. Let’s turn back the tide, let’s figure out how.” It’s as much of a nostalgic look back, as it is a plea to do something to preserve the natural resources so future generations can enjoy them as she did. Those Shallow Minded Powerboat Folk has Dove rocking out to the age-old rivalry between sailors and power boaters. She loving mocks the powerboat folk who are “Gonna tie one on and get all fired up, with my baby on my arm and a Mai Tai in my cup,” only to end the song with “hey this just started out as a joke, cause you know that I’m one of those powerboat folks.” It’s a humorous jab at the folks who proudly proclaim “Oh yes, the salesman we do provoke.” Hard Headed Man sounds like modern country, and deals with rejection and the delusional persistence some men suffer after hearing the words “Best thing I can be is your very good friend.” It’s a song of frustration and aggravation, with Dove declaring “You’re like a nightmare that just won’t end.” You Guys addresses men’s emotional immaturity. It’s a somewhat bitter retort at men who refuse to grow up. When she sings “No I never had kids, but I’ve raised a lot of boys” you can tell she’s dealt with enough mentally stunted males to become sufficiently fed up with the species as a whole. Apparently inspired by a guy who would sit around playing his guitar all day, it’s a rocker that declares “You guys got it made. Do just what you want. You got it made in the shade.” Original Sin and Stalemate sound adult contemporary and contemporary country, respectively. Both have a “radio friendly” pop sound and memorable hooks, giving them a little more mass appeal than some of the other material on the disc. The album closes on a somber note with Life Is Short and You’re Dead a Long Time. Its basic message is live well, be considerate of others, and respect the planet. “Think before you speak, give some space and be patient” and “take what you need, but think conservative” are just a few of the things she feels would make the world a better place. She sounds slightly weary as she recounts the list of items we need to do in order to preserve and exist. Backed by just an acoustic guitar and subtle drums, she sings “And I just want to share some things that help me survive,” before detailing small, but significant steps for self-preservation and civility.
Deanna Dove’s love of the Bay is evident on Peace, Love & Crabs. A talented songwriter, she presents a personal mix of life and love, both of and on the water, in a variety of styles that include rock, folk, pop, country. It’s a pleasant listening experience from the “land of pleasant living,” and one that has appeal beyond the shores of the Bay. Its then songs offer thoughts on the environment, relationships, and an idyllic life floating on the water, from the perspective of a woman who’s lived it. The tunes on Peace, Love & Crabs make for pretty smooth sailing, Deanna Dove is an advocate for the restoration and sustainable life of the Chesapeake Bay.
Chesapeake Life Magazine
Island Girl - 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 Margarittaville. 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 eighteen foot 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.”
Noi Mahoney with Kathy H. Ely. For performance schedule, visit http://www.deannadove.com.
February Boat Show/Nor’easter Mid-Atlantic Feb Edition
Deanna Dove- Home grown Bay girl sings the songs of the Chesapeake
By Jill Malcolm
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.
Songs to Save the Bay - Who to Know
Southern Maryland, Vol 10 #2, Story by Martha Lane
Deanna Dove, who has a voice that she calls “a gift” was born and raised on Broomes Island in Calvert County. “The sea is part of my soul and just like music it sustains me,” she writes on the liner notes of her first CD.
In the chorus of her country rock song Lula J, Dove shares with her audience—both at her concerts and on her CD “Chesapeake”—why the bay and the Lula J are the foundation of her life. “Cradled me in rhythm; rocked me with every wave. From the time I was two weeks old, until they lay me in my grave. I will always feel at home out on the bay.”
The Lula J is the name of the skiff she helped her father, Monroe Dove, build when she was eight years old. The boat, name for her mother, was her “playground.” Her family went fishing and crabbing almost every day that weather permitted. Dove said, “Nobody today believes how many bushels of crabs we could catch back then.”
Dove still has the dip net that her father used to push the skiff, family and all. The dip net, with a net on one end, could also be used to catch crabs. The bow is the only part of that boat still in existence, which Dove cherishes. She takes it with her as a prop to all of her concerts, in memory of her father who is deceased.
Her family also gave her a love of music and the church, which is where Dove got her start. While young, she began singing and playing guitar with her sisters as part of the Dove Trio. They sang in churches, revivals, telethons and on the first radio station in Prince Frederick—WMJS.
“I developed an independent spirit at an early age” Dove said. “I believe it is the result of taking my father’s words to heart. It’s a tough life out there girl, you have to learn how to take care of yourself.” Graduating early, at age 16, from Calvert High School, she left home, got a job, bought her own car and eventually her own home in North Beach, where she still lives today.
After years of performing in local bands, Dove took the plunge, resigning from a comfortable and secure federal government job, to become a solo performer. Within three years Dove completed her degree in communications from the University of Maryland and released her first CD “Chesapeake” on her own Island Girl Records label.
“As a solo artist there are so many hats to wear.” Dove said, she wears hats of songwriter, singer, guitarist, manager and agent. “That means I do it all,” Dove said. Incredibly diverse, she sings in the genres of country, R&B, rock and spirituals. With a deep, rich voice Dove sings from her heart at every performance.
As a certified aerobic instructor, Dove is very serious about her health. Starting each day with an hour’s workout or a five-mile run. Dove is a firm believer in physical fitness.
Dove is also very serious about cleaning up the bay. Each June, she participates in the annual Bernie Fowler “Wade In,” as part of her contribution to help restore the bay. One of Dove’s songs is also on the compilation CD “Songs of the Chesapeake Bay,” which she helps market to raise money for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Her concerts are performed outdoors in the summer, early enough for dinner, with the waters of the bay she loves as a magnificent backdrop. Dove’s future plans include continued work as an activist protecting and promoting the Chesapeake Bay, completing a new CD of spirituals, and performing in Nashville.
Concert schedules and all other information may be found at www.deannadove.com.
Chesapeake Sings Christmas
Chesapeake Sings Christmas, Rob Goskowski, Vol 20, Issue 48 ~ Dec 6
Local Flavors to Spice Up Your Holiday Diet by Rob Goskowski
Ah, the holidays. With them inevitably comes familiar holiday music and sometimes, it’s just a little too familiar. Mom might love that Bing Crosby Christmas collection, but you sprint for your iPod from the old crooner’s first note. In the season to make a joyful noise, Bay Weekly went hunting through Chesapeake Country for songs to refresh your collection, maybe reunite the family. We’re even dreaming of coming across a song so right for the mood of the season that we’ll have another White Christmas…
Deanna Dove: Merry Christmas Dahling
In her third album of ’07, Deanna Dove releases an upbeat compilation of traditional Christmas songs recorded during her productive time in a Nashville recording studio. Dove gets the reindeer in high gear on a few tracks, using a rock beat behind songs like “Santa Baby” and “Please Come Home for Christmas.” Displaying a little versatility, she jazzes up other tracks and, says the artist, “leaves the “korn” out of the title track Merry Christmas Dahling.” Find it at: www.deannadove.com.