Dede Wyland’s voice rings like a bell, clear and powerful. With a stellar backing band, Dede is showcased here in familiar and supportive ground. Her voice flows and dances through these songs like a luminous golden ribbon, tying each tying each song together while shining light onto the lyrics. She moves with ease from the haunting country-soul delivery of “Could You Love Me One ore Time” to the precise and masterful control of “Cannonball Yodel.”
I first heard Dede sing with Tony Trischka and Skyline in the ‘80s and I was immediately struck with the richness and strength of her voice. I was also struck with the absolute ease with which she sang. Her singing, then and now, appears effortless and natural, as if she is lounging on a cushy sofa, having a conversation, drink in hand, and suddenly breaks into song. Like falling off a log, as they say where I’m from, like falling off a log. She is doing what she was meant to do and I’m so very glad she is. “Urge for Going” is set to mark Dede Wyland’s rightful place in the history of modern bluegrass.
Missy Raines – Missy Raines and the New Hip
Reflecting on Dede Wyland puts a smile upon my face. I was introduced to her golden tones around the time I first immersed myself in bluegrass, in the early 1980s, while hosting radio shows at WAMU in DC. The band was Tony Trischka and Skyline, a New York/New Jersey-based group that revolutionized our music with their modern approach, not afraid to stretch the music to its bountiful limits. Dede’s voice led the way, soaring and dipping through the textured sounds. But her career in the music goes back even a little further. The Milwaukee-area band ‘Grass, Food and Lodging was around in the late ‘70s, and Dede cut her teeth with that group. In more recent years, Dede has stepped back from the spotlight a little, teaching voice, but still making music around the area where she is now based, near Washington, DC. For this fine new project, she calls on an amazing lineup of DC-based musicians, a list that reminds us just how incredibly strong the music scene is around here still to this day. Add to those local players a few out-of-towners, including Laurie Lewis, Kathy Kallick, and Raymond McLain. From the opening track, a revved-up rendition of the splendid Joni Mitchel song of wanderlust, “Urge for Going,” to the closing track, an old Suzy Bogguss song, “Music on the Wind,” and within the eight great songs between, there’s lots to love. After more than forty years of lighting up the room with her exquisite vocal talents, it’s great to have yet another gem of an album to add to the Dede Wyland discography.
Lee Michael Dempsey – Longtime radio host at WAMU radio and bluegrasscountry.org
Dede Wyland is one of the pioneering women in bluegrass. It’s a fact not discussed as often as it should be, partly because of Dede’s choice these days to perform primarily in the D.C. area where she lives, and concentrate on another passion of hers: passing on her keen knowledge of the human voice in her role as a much sought-after vocal coach.
Those who know Dede as I do are well aware of her immense gift as a singer and stylist capable of tremendous stylistic range. Although she has performed and recorded country, rockabilly, and other genres, bluegrass has always been the foundation of what Dede does, and this record is a statement to that. It’s bluegrass music, extremely well-played by a who’s who of D.C. area pickers: members of the Seldom Scene, Dirty Kitchen, and others, but it’s Dede’s captivating voice and musical leadership that put the artistic stamp on this collection of songs.
Whether it’s the Everly Brothers’ “Let it Be Me,” a Joni Mitchell song, or one by her beloved Stanley Brothers, Dede has the gift of truly delivering the lyrics and making us feel each song in a new way. That’s what an artist does, and Dede has never sounded better doing it.
Chris Jones – Chris Jones & The Night Drivers