Don’t you just really miss country music, sometimes? The shuffles, two-steps and blue yodels, the twin fiddles and sobbing steel guitar. Unadorned and direct, country voices that sing heartfelt songs about real people—songs that soar with hope, crackle with laughter, or just profoundly and completely break your heart.
If you miss the heart and soul of real country music in voices like George Jones, Merle Haggard, and even Charlie Daniels, John Conlee and Hank, Jr., you’re going to love Dennis Ledbetter.
A Louisiana native and a lifelong student of country music (the real stuff), Dennis Ledbetter brings a fresh, but achingly familiar voice to the stage and radio airways. His classic instrumental arrangements and vocal style harken back to country music of the 1970s and ‘80s—when the genre still had its trademark twang and was damn proud of it, thank you very much.
The first radio single from Dennis Ledbetter’s sophomore album “My Life Is A Country Song” is a tribute to the late, great, legendary songwriter, Guy Clark, who passed away earlier this year on May 17. In the lyrics someone asks, “Mr. Clark, where do your songs come from?” After a contemplative moment, the reply comes: “It’s easy son. You just sit down, tune up your guitar, and open a vein.”
Good songs and stories—the ones that leap through the lines of music to touch your heart with characters that seem as real as the friends and family you interact with every day—aren’t portrayed effectively in shallow, bro-country ditties with a five-note vocal range, predictable lyrics, screaming rock ‘n’ roll guitars and heavy drums.
The kind of country songs that Ledbetter writes and sings are the ones that can be a little tough to get through without tearing up because they’re so incredibly sad and true-to-life. As a country singer and also a songwriter, Dennis opens a vein, and lets true life stories and emotions flow.
Ledbetter and his WTF (Wickedly Talented Friends) band are entertaining, yes. But there’s more to their music than that. The simple, yet poignant lyrics, the singer’s unapologetically, stone cold country vocals, and the steely glint of blue eyes that peer out from beneath the wide brim of a real cowboy hat…. These things consistently and completely grab listeners by the heart and pull them into a song.
Ledbetter is a working man—a skilled steam turbine engineer of 35 years who chooses his words carefully before speaking, or singing. His word is his bond, and his trad-country perspective isn’t an act or a costume chosen for a polished, retro CMT video. Dennis has loved country music all of his life. He’s spent years onstage at honkytonks and clubs in the South, honing his craft and earning the years and miles that show in his authentic voice.
Dennis was signed to an Artist Development Deal with AirPlay Direct’s Collective Evolution division in 2015 after being named the Best New Country Artist of the Year by New Music Weekly magazine.
Ledbetter’s debut album, recorded at Nashville’s Tombstone Recording studio, featured originals or co-writes on all 12 songs. The title cut, “If You Drive Me to Drinking (I’ll Buy the Gas)” is an anti-drinking and driving song, with a sample twist of Ledbetter’s trademark sense of humor.
The first single was released in September 2013 and went to #1 on the New Music Weekly charts and #1 on Independent Music Network Charts on January 2014. The Independent Music Network awarded Dennis with the 2013 Country Discovery Artist award. In addition to the previously mentioned honor from New Music Weekly Magazine, the 18th Annual Academy of Western Artists nominated Ledbetter in several categories: Pure Country Male Artist, Pure Country Album, and Pure Country Song for “Three Acres of Fillies at Billy’s.”
The second single from the first CD, “Bayou Self,” reached #1 on the New Music Weekly Country Internet chart and the Country Internet Top 30 Indie Chart on May 30, 2014. Four additional singles with chart success followed.
Friends and fans will be pleased to hear Ledbetter’s second album, which is now available to radio and available for sale in all digital formats at CD Baby, Amazon, & ITunes