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Billy Dean Returns to Country Scene with <i> Let Them Be Little</i>

  • Mary Morningstar

Billy Dean dominated the Country charts in the early 1990s. By the end of the decade, however, his successful career was over. Now the Florida native is making a comeback with his first album for Curb Records. VOA's Mary Morningstar has this report on Billy Dean's new CD, Let Them Be Little.

After nearly 10 years away from the Country charts, Billy Dean made his return earlier this year with Let Them Be Little. He wrote the song with Lonestar's lead singer Richie McDonald. Lonestar included the track on its latest album. But, the group didn't release it as a single, and that allowed Billy to record his version, which quickly climbed into the Top 10.

Billy arrived on the Country scene in 1990, with the Top 5 single, "Only Here For A Little While." His other early hits were mostly ballads, like "Somewhere In My Broken Heart" and "You Don't Count The Cost." Billy also included several slow tunes on his latest album, such as "I'm In Love With You."

Throughout the 1990s, Billy recorded nearly a dozen Top 10 hits for Capitol Records. But, later in the decade, his album sales began to decline, and the label dropped him in 1998. One year earlier, he and his first wife divorced. Instead of going after a new recording deal, he decided to step away from his career to spend more time with his two young children, who were having a difficult time with the divorce.

Billy married his second wife, Stephanie Paisley, on May 7. His son and daughter served as best man and maid of honor at the ceremony, which took place in Nashville.

Billy wrote or co-wrote all but one song on his new album. The exception is his version of the late John Denver's 1975 classic, "Thank God I'm A Country Boy."

Many of the songs on "Let Them Be Little" came to Billy after the September 11, 2001 attacks on America. He says he wanted to write about the important things in life and what we needed as a nation. Billy admits, however, he was unsure if his fans and Country radio would welcome him back.

"Every song now that I put out, I think, 'This may be my last.' And, if it is my last record, I'm willing to go out on this one," he says. " If nobody wants to hear me and radio doesn't want to play me, I can personally walk away saying, 'I offered something of value and something important.' I can live with that."

Billy will spend the coming months performing songs from Let Them Be Little on the "Guys Night Out Tour," which also features Country star Craig Morgan.

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