"It came when I was nine years old..."
... my dad Jerry Deere's friend Bill Carroll, one of the founders of Rebel Records, came to us and they took me down to a festival. We went down to Take it Easy Ranch, probably about 1971. I'm not sure, all I know is I was nine years old. When we went down there I saw The Bluegrass 45, a band from Japan, come running out on stage with striped pants on, and I was nine years old, and it floored me. there was other bands there, John Duffy was there, and it just changed my life."
That defining moment led to a life in music for Bryan Deere. Starting with guitar in high school but quickly changing to mandolin, the young Bryan Deere forged his musical chops playing with a who's who of Baltimore / DC bluegrass luminaries: Dean Stoneman, Roni Stoneman, Buzz Busby, Don Stover, Al Jones and Frank Necessary and Charlie Thompson, just to name a few. Today Bryan Deere serves as guitarist and vocalist for The Patuxent Partners, the result of a musical partnership forged with kindred spirit Tom Mindte.
"Tom was a big influence on me, very important in my musical development. I met Tom in the early 80s at a bluegrass festival, and I realized he liked the same type of music I did, like Buzz and Scotty and all that kind of stuff, and I tell you what, I couldn't believe anyone else knew about that kind of stuff, and when I found out he like that kind of stuff too,
our musical relationship started.”
But Bryan grew up being influenced by much more than bluegrass, his father's Link Wray albums opened the door to the world of rockabilly, and later classic country and honky-tonk. A love that lay dormant for several years until a fortuitous discovery led to the album.
"Jerry Steinberg. This is the top of it, this is how this started. There's a record we did at Tom's shop in ‘85 or something, that we recorded. And I didn't know, I was singing some song, and Tom's playing bass, and this is
some hard core honky-tonk. And so about three years ago, Tom rediscovered it and mapped it out, and he let Jerry Steinberg hear it. We were in line at Galax, and he said 'Jerry, what do you think of this,' and Jerry was like, 'oh my God.' And so like a month later Jerry calls me and says you gotta do a record with Tom, and put that down. You need to do it now, before your voice changes. And I didn't think Tom would want to do it. So Jerry calls me back and says, 'I talked to Tom, and Tom says he'll I'll do it if you're really interested, so are you interested?'"
Fortunately for the rest of us, he was. The result is Too Hot To Handle. With such all-stars as Chick Hall, Jr. on electric guitar, Tommy Auldridge on steel and Nate Leath on fiddle, and supported by the well heeled rhythm section of Brennan Earnst on acoustic guitar, Chris Hall on bass and Anders Eliasson on drums, Bryan takes you deep into the roots of honky- tonk, played and sung by people who know how to do it right. Lending his well-textured voice, reminiscent of a time when country music was still played in smoky bars over the sound of ice clinking against glass, to such classics as "Pick Me Up on Your Way Down," "There Stands the Glass," and "Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young," Bryan Deere and company have documented an account of honkytonk that is both new and familiar, remaining true to the style while allowing room for their own individuality. The result is a sterling example of country music when it was still country.
-Joseph L. Scott