A little bit country, a little bit Buffett

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Island Girl is more than just the name of Deanna Dove’s label — it’s a lifestyle

Maryland singer Deanna Dove called herself an “adventurous musician on the move,” and the music of her latest album, “Peace, Love, and Crabs” certainly fits that definition.
A little country and a little Jimmy Buffett, Dove’s deep, melodic voice sings about everything from going down to the beach to catch some crabs to telling men she’s not going to be their maid. Looking at the photo of the feisty blonde on the beach with her guitar and bikini, one can believe her.

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“I guess you could say my music is rock, pop and country,” says Dove, 49. “It’s hard to put a label on it; I just play what I feel.”
Much of the material for Dove’s easygoing style comes from her boating background. Having grown up on Broom Island, Md., as a child she helped her father build a 16-foot flat-bottom skiff. Her family also had a 45-foot Sea Ray powerboat for a while, and after her father died in 1994 she inherited a custom-built 18-foot center console that she still owns and uses for water skiing.
Her interest in music started at age 12 when she began to learn how to play the recorder, and then her grandmother got her an electric guitar with a little amp.

 

 Listen to a sampling of Dove's music below. Click here to purchase the CD.

  Peace, Love & Crabs
{mp3}01peace_love_and_crabs{/mp3}

You Guys {mp3}05_you_guys{/mp3}

Take Me Back (To The Days of my Youth){mp3}06_take_me_back{/mp3}

“I started playing [the guitar] and it was like I had been playing my whole life,” says Dove. “I was fearless — give me a couple chords and I could run with it.”
Dove knew her father would never let her attend music school, so when she graduated from high school in 1976 she took a job in Washington, D.C., as a computer instructor and traveled 120 miles a day to work and back.
But Dove never gave up her music. She eventually switched to acoustic guitar, and found herself lead singer in various bands, most recently Deanna Dove and Blues Power.
“I was always in a band, even when I had my full-time job,” says Dove. “I remember when Blues Power disbanded in 1998, I decided to go solo. That winter I took out my acoustic and learned how to play about 200 songs.”
By summer 1999 she was back on the road, playing all over the state.
“In 2000 I had my mortgage almost paid off and I started looking into doing my music full-time,” says Dove. “In 2002 I quit my job, and I wrote and debuted my first album, ‘Chesapeake,’ in May of 2003.”
She also started her own label named Island Girl Records. After her first album sold 3,000 copies, she began touring from North Carolina to Florida. Dove then packed her bags and headed to Nashville, Tenn., to find the right producer for her next albums, and that’s where she met Billy Herzig.
“We had this instant connection,” says Dove. “He really liked my sound and he wanted to start recording immediately.”
What followed was the toughest 7-1/2 weeks of Dove’s career. She ultimately released three albums in 2007: “Rock of My Roots,” which explores some of the gospel music she grew up with as a child; “Merry Christmas Dahling!” features some of her favorite holiday tunes (including a spirited version of “Santa Baby”); and “Peace, Love, and Crabs.”
Which brings us to that bikini photo.
“In hindsight, I don’t know if I would’ve done that cover again,” says Dove, whose other covers feature her in jeans or dresses rather than beach wear. “I just wanted to reflect who I am: the island girl. I tend to wear sarongs and swimsuit tops at shows in the summer because it gets darn hot out there. Plus, it’s nice to know I can still pull it off.”
Her base of fans loves her for her music and for the island girl she is, says Dove. Most recently, her music has been added to the mix at Latitudes and Attitudes Radio (www.seafaring.com/radio).
“I can’t accept the praise personally because this is bigger than me,” she says. “The music takes on a life of its own, and it’s been such a blessing to be able to write and share it with others.”
For information, visit www.deanna dove.com.