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"Tom Dean is a New Hampshire singer-songwriter, and though he's a 25+ year veteran of local folk/rock heroes Devonsquare, these days his solo career has been in the spotlight. On his latest CD, Pennies, Dean serves up ten strong, original songs co-written with friend/lyricist George Wardwell. Wardwell also contributed lyrics to Dean's 1999 release, Your Own Backyard (reviewed right here on Indie-Music.com), and is in fine form this time around. The lyrics are cleverly crafted stories set to Dean's memorable melodies, most of which fall into the "modern folk" or singer-songwriter genre. There are a couple of surprises however, like Dean's wailing harmonica on the bluesy title track and the surprisingly traditional violin on "That Girl is the Moon".
The single most impressive thing about this album (among many) is the consistent strength of the songwriting. There's not a weak tune in the bunch.
Dean himself plays guitar, harmonica, and keyboards, and is joined on the album by well-known players Shawn Pelton, drums (Shawn Colvin), Kevin Barry, guitar (Paula Cole), Michael Visceglia, bass (Suzanne Vega), Tom Yoder, fiddle & mandolin, Joyce Anderson, violin & backing vocals, and Don Campbell, banjo & vocals
I just love this guy's voice. He's been compared by other reviewers to Phil Collins, Don Henley, and James Taylor. I also hear traces of Paul Simon's genius on "Run Down Slow" and "The Streets of Montreal". --- By Suzanne Glass - Indie-Music.com


Tom DeanTom Dean has finally released a solo album. And it lives up to expectations. Devonsquare is a tough act to follow. What Dean has done with Your Own Backyard is make a solid, tuneful folk-pop album with catchy hooks, soulful vocals, and finger-snapping, foot-tapping songs.
The creme de la creme are "Walking On Ice", "The Devil And Robert Johnson", "On The Road" and "After Midnight". What keeps Dean at the top of his form is the masterful assistance of lyricist George Wardwell and producer Peter Gallway.
Dean's emotion and passion is evident with both the melody and his voice. And the folk-pop tag is perfect for someone who sounds equal parts Phil Collins and James Taylor.
Jeff Pevar's electric guitar and Dean's vocal inflections make "Love Is Always Gonna Look Just Like You" sound like a tune that the Eagles could have done with Don Henley at the helm. A love song, hint of twang, slow and catchy.
"The Devil And Robert Johnson" is my favorite of this disc. There is a bit of blues wrapped up in this tune, but that's not what makes it soar. The conviction in Dean's voice an tempo provided by the rhythm section Shawn Pelton peltin' the skins and Michael Visceglia on bass really stand out. The story, a twist on the Crossroads legend is equally good.
.."After Midnight" is not a cover. Dean penned this one entirely himself and it comes through well. The well-traveled Dean laments of days away from home and longing for love.

..Now that Dean has done the album he's been expected to do, how will he top this?
-- Bill Huffman - Jam Magazine


logo"Pennies" is the second solo effort of North Conway’s Tom Dean, of the long-running supergroup Devonsquare. "Classy" readily comes to mind to describe a superb 40 minutes of sound. "Splendid" also rattles around in that vast vacuum serving as the music reviewer’s stand-in for gray matter.
First-rate music, pithy lyrics and talented performers all bear up well under repeated aural scrutiny. In truth, most of the song lyrics, eight collaborations with George Wardwell and two lonely star turns from Dean, improve with contemplation.
Dean and Wardwell milk life’s experiences and the cream rises to the top. Deep thoughts are cleanly rendered and speak to everyman. Even songs about that road more traveled, love, sound original, not hackneyed.
The "Pennies" band usually sports Dean on vocals, acoustic, bass, slide and electric guitars, keyboards, tambourine, harmonica, and/or snare drum, Shawn Pelton on drums, Michael Visceglia on bass guitar, and Kevin Barry on electric guitars. Other contributors include Don Campbell on background vocals and banjo, Tom Yoder on mandolin and violin, Charlie Jennison on soprano sax, and Joyce Andersen on violin and background and additional vocals.
  "Pennies" is prima facie evidence why one of New England’s finest singer-songwriters, and a gifted vocalist and multi-instrumentalist to boot, is also in constant demand as a producer. If you like contemporary folk, "Pennies" will sound heavenly.

---  By Chuck Ginsberg  Portsmouth Herald / seacoastonline.com