Donna Dean Profile

Glen Moffatt
10 Jun 2020

A chance meeting with a German tourist on the Paihia-Russell ferry in 1997 led to country singer-songwriter Donna Dean’s first tour of Germany a year later and the recording of a CD to hawk while there.

Dean was in the north for the annual Bay of Islands Country Music Festival, but the tourist – retired from engineering company Bosch – was in town and totally oblivious of the event. The ferry was near empty and Dean asked the man if he was enjoying the music. “What music?”

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The Sound of Her Guitar documentary on Donna Dean, 2017
Donna Dean tour poster, Germany 2012.
Donna Dean tour poster.
Donna Dean as she appeared in the Look North paper, Bay of Islands, 1999.
Donna Dean playing live at Riverhead Records Studio (2014)
Donna Dean tour poster, Germany 2012.
Donna Dean with Barry Saunders (left) and Arthur Baysting pictured entertaining local primary school children in Gore, 2003, where they were guest songwriters at the country music awards.
Photo credit: Donna Dean Collection
Donna Dean at a radio interview, Prague 2005.
Photo credit: Donna Dean Collection
Donna Dean - Dangerous (2016)
Donna Dean tour poster, 2008.
Donna Dean tour poster.
Donna Dean in 2000, taking a tour of the legendary Fame studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, with Rick Hall  (striped shirt) and Spooner Oldham (right). 
Photo credit: Donna Dean Collection
Donna Dean going over song structures with the Amazing Rhythm Aces in Stebbing's studio, Auckland, 1999. From left: Jeff Davis, Bryan Owings, and Russell Smith.
Photo credit: Peter Winterbottom
Donna Dean, Tyre Tracks and Broken Hearts world tour poster, 2012.
Donna Dean & The Amzing Rhythm Aces - Between You and Me (1999)
Donna Dean with the Amazing Rhythm Aces at Stebbing Studios, Auckland, 1999. From left: Donna Dean, Jeff Davis, Bryan Owings, and Russell Smith.
Photo credit: Peter Winterbottom
Donna Dean tour poster.
Donna Dean - Destination Life (1998)
Donna Dean - Pray (2010)
Donna Dean's debut gig at The Gluepot, 1989.
Photo credit: Graham Hooper
Donna Dean visiting Dan Penn, his wife Linda and mother in law at their house in Vernon, Alabama. "Dan took me to his favourite restaurant and ordered catfish for me. It was a whole deep fried fish on a plate!"
Photo credit: Donna Dean collection
Poster for Donna Dean's debut CD release Destination Life, Temple, Auckland, 13 May 1998.
Photo credit: Donna Dean Collection
Donna Dean & the Amazing Rhythm Aces - Money
Donna Dean - What Am I Gonna Do (2010)
Donna Dean with US music greats Jimmy Webb, Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, and promoter Chris Price in Wellington during their 1999 NZ tour. Dean was the opening act for their shows in Auckland and Wellington.
Photo credit: Donna Dean Collection
Donna Dean, 1999. 
Trivia:

Donna Dean opened for American songwriter Don McLean at the Christchurch Town Hall the night before the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. The tour party departed Christchurch minutes before the disaster and learned of it after touching down in Wellington. The Town Hall suffered substantial damage but was rebuilt and partially reopened in 2019.

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