Dean M. Collins says, “I always joke that my ‘side gig’ is as a commercial airline pilot…” The country/Americana/bluegrass singer-guitarist served as a Navy pilot and now flies for Delta Airlines. But music has a been a constant throughout his high-flying life.
He remembers his takeoff in songwriting and playing as a distinct moment during his teens, while growing up on a large farm in Kentucky. Dean pulled a neglected guitar given to him by his mom out of the closet in an attempt to help memorize a poem for school by setting it to music. The guitar became a constant companion, leading to a college rock band and his first recording experience. “[It was] my first time in a recording studio and I said, ‘Man this is where I want to be.’ That was in ‘87. I’ve been making music (against all better judgment) ever since.” Dean would go on to make three albums before departing for deployment on an aircraft carrier during the Desert Shield/Desert Storm conflict.
After 10 years of active duty, followed by 10 years in reserve service concurrent with work of Delta that understandably decreased his “free time”, now Dean has more recently put his music career back on his radar. This focus has culminated in a new album, Land Where The Wishes Come True, due out in June 2023.
Supported by renowned guest musicians who together have received more than 60 Grammy Awards, Dean’s new album invites listeners on a journey through past loves, missed opportunities, precious bonds and experiences, all gathered along his life’s path. From all these moments, he weaves a dense, constant web of memories and impressions.
For now, fans will have to enjoy Dean’s music by recording only. “I’m kind of unusual in that I’m the only person in this group of musicians who doesn’t really play live. My big gig this year is playing at my 40th high school reunion.”
By Dan Walsh