Branch and Dean is a new duo made up of two guys with a lifetime of history between them.
Steve Branch and Marlon Dean grew up in the small Jacksonville suburb of Macclenny, Fla., in an area where music was king. They got to know one another when Dean’s schoolteacher mother heard Branch, a former student of hers, sing at a county fair talent show and took him under her wing. The two small town boys gradually began singing together, whether onstage at local bars and festivals or at home during Dean family gatherings.
Steve Branch was born in Daytona Beach, Fl and at birth was put up for adoption. It was a private ‘closed’ proceeding and his adoptive parents Margaret Clevesy and Charles Branch had only basic information on the identity of Steve’s biological parents. They were told that his birth mother was a secretary and his father was ironically one the most famous country music singers of the time. Steve has a pretty good idea of the identity of his natural father, and if you ask him he just might give you a hint!
Determined to make songwriting his area of expertise, Dean headed for Nashville about Twelve years ago and found guidance from veteran songwriter and co-producer Michael Huffman (who has penned hits for everyone from Conway Twitty to George Strait). Huffman heard Dean’s demo for a song he had written with Branch, “Your Ol’ Lady’s Gone,” and was immediately impressed. Huffman suggested Branch hightail it up to Nashville to rejoin his friend in a duo they dubbed, naturally enough, Branch and Dean.
Upon Branch’s arrival in Music City, the two immediately set to work with producer Huffman on their first album. Among the songs they concentrated on first was “Your Ol’ Lady’s Gone,” which began life several years ago when Branch was working as a truck driver. “I’ve always liked yodeling,” says Branch, whose influences range from Lefty Frizzell to Wayne Newton. “When you yodel you go, ‘Yodel-a-dee-oh…’ I got to thinking, ‘Man, that sounds like you’re saying, your ole lady.’” He and Dean got together the following day and wrote a song based around Branch’s instantly familiar, mind-invadingly catchy hook.
But there’s much more to Branch and Dean than that irresistible tune, other songs they laid down are “The Dash,” a contemplative ballad inspired by the loss of Dean’s great-uncle and somewhere in between the raucous “Your Ol’ Lady’s Gone” and “The Dash” is “16 to 21,” a spirited look back at the wild-and-free years of late teenagerdom and early adulthood.
Now Branch and Dean are getting to enjoy some first times of their own all over again, as they take on the music world together. They’re determined to make the most of the opportunity they’ve created for themselves. “I left my backup plan at home when I packed for Nashville,” Dean says. “So I just hope people get to hear the music. If people hear it, I think they’ll get it. I hope we get that shot.”
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