Patuxent CD-189 Dede Wyland - Keep the Light On
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In the mid-1970s women in bluegrass were far from the norm. But at that very time
Dede Wyland was blazing trails and pointing the way to the future–enthralling audiences throughout the central United States with her poignant singing and propulsive guitar playing. Dede grew up in a suburb of Milwaukee, and by her mid-20s was playing guitar full-time with ‘Grass, Food & Lodging, a young Milwaukee-based band. Their 1978 LP, High Class Bluegrass & Other Road Side Attractions, documents Dede’s early
sound, with her crisp yet fluid guitar work and a pure, strong voice that balanced traditional passion with contemporary polish. In 1980 Dede moved to New York City, where she helped form Tony Trischka and Skyline, one of the leading progressive bluegrass bands of the ’80s. She played on three Skyline albums and released her own EP, Look Into Your Heart. But in 1988, weary from years of continual touring, Dede bowed out of the band.
Although Dede left the road, she didn’t leave music. She continued to perform, first in Tucson, then in the greater Washington, DC, area, where she has lived since 1990. She has since won six Washington Area Music Association awards (“Wammies”) for bluegrass singer of the year, and has become a sought-after vocal instructor in the region, and at workshops and music camps throughout the United States and beyond. Today, when some of the music’s most prominent bands are led by women, Dede–singer, teacher, pioneering female bluegrass musician–has taken the opportunity to present her own musical vision. For long-time admirers of her work, or for newcomers to the fold, Keep the Light On is a powerful statement from one of bluegrass music’s great artists.