Exclusive: Dean Alexander on new single, West Virginia upbringing and Roy Orbison connection

Dean Alexander comes from humble West Virginia beginnings but has quickly gained momentum since making the move to Nashville in 2006. Within two week of doing yard work for Roy Orbison's wife, Barbara, he had landed a publishing deal. Now, he heads into the release of his Warner debut record with confidence and humility, ready to take over the world.

His first single "Sunshine On My Rain" is just a small taste of what fans can expect on the record. Nashville Gab recently caught up with the singer at Craig Campbell's Cornhole Challenge, an event to bring awareness (and raise money) for colon cancer. Dean opened up about the event, as well as his upbringing and what story Barbara shared of Roy (and much more)


Nashville Gab: What’s "Sunshine On My Rain" about?

Dean Alexander: Love. We’re singing about how a guy that just kind of went through everything, and he found someone to take him out of the bad stuff.


NG: Is it inspired by real life?

DA: It is. There’s a lot of inspiration with that. I have a lot of friends that were in the same situation. They went through the same things as me, and we all found a good woman. It’s a bunch of different circumstance but it’s definitely real life.


NG: Why did you decide to get involved in this event?

DA: It’s very important to me. My grandfather died of cancer, brain cancer. So, it really hit me. Any time I get a chance to raise some money for something like this, I’m on board. You don’t even have to ask, especially when you get to throw bean bags around all day long. [laughs]


NG: You recently performed at the Bluebird Cafe. How was that experience?

DA: [I performed with] Bob Shapiro and Jim Beavers. I felt a little out of place setting in between those two guys. They were like 'here’s a hit, here’s a hit,' and here’s my song. It was great. Bob is one of my heroes. I grew up listening to his songs, reading his name all over records. For him to kind of take me in and really look after me and care about what I’m doing and respect what I’m doing, it means a lot to me. It says a lot.


NG: Tell me about Barbara Orbison. You did lawn work for her, correct?

DA: I did. I was shoveling manure when I met [her]. She came out, and I was the only idiot landscaper in white jeans and boots in 100 degree weather. She goes ‘you have to be somebody, you have to do something, don’t ya?’ Honestly, within a couple weeks of giving her my EP that day, she gave me a publishing deal.


NG: Did she ever share any stories about Roy Orbison?

DA: Oh yea. I asked her that day, the first day that I met her, ‘can you tell me anything about Roy?’ She goes ‘well, he was a great songwriter. He was a great performer, but above all, he was a better man.’ I think that hit me the most. That goes deeper than a song right there.


NG: I hear you lived on the West Virginia border.

DA: Yea, I did. Literally, if you were looking across the river here [at Riverfront], that’s how far from Ohio I was. I was born in Parkersburg, West Virginia, and spent some years in Southern Ohio. I’m a Mountaineer. I am a hillbilly at heart.


Read the full interview here.


Photo Credit: Ash Powell Photography

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