Dean Phelps plays heart-friendly songs to the toe-tapping beat of Travis-style guitar.
Originally from Kentucky, Dean now makes his home in Edmond, Oklahoma. Along the way, his path has also led through Georgia, North Carolina and Indiana.
Although Dean has been singing, playing guitar, and performing for over 30 years, when he moved to Indiana in 2005, he began to develop the guitar style known as thumbpicking. Also know as the “Travis style,” this style of guitar playing that emerged from western Kentucky was made popular by guitarists like Merle Travis and Chet Atkins in the mid-20th century.
Dean has earned local and national recognition for his guitar playing, including a ﬁrst place championship in the National Thumbpicking Guitar Contest at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Ark., in 2012 and being named thumbpick guitar champion at the Indiana Picking and Fiddling Championship in 2010.
“These competitions are great fun for me,” he says. “I’ve met and had the opportunity to play with some excellent players who are also delightful people to be around.”
Dean’s fourth CD, Picking the Faith, was released in 2012 and marries the toe-tapping guitar beat of the thumbpicking style with traditional hymns and gospel music. This combination reﬂects Dean’s musical roots and the inﬂuence of pickers like Merle Travis and Doc Watson.
Dean’s other CD titles include Give Us a Song, released in 2008, which continues to receive radio airplay across the U.S. and Europe. He also release This Old House in 2006 and Going Over Home in 1997.