Summer Dean to Channel Golden Era Greatness on “The Biggest Life”

photo: Scott Slusher

Fresh off of her win as the 2023 Ameripolitan Music Awards Honky Tonk Female, the blue jean Texas honky tonk queen Summer Dean has announced a new album, and released a new single that is classic country music gold. On June 16th, The Biggest Life will arrive via Bruce Robinson’s revivalist label The Next Waltz, with Robison producing the album as well.

“I’m very proud of myself and this record,” Summer Dean says. “It’s the most real and vulnerable I’ve ever been with my writing.” Meanwhile Robison’s approach of doing most everything live made for a more organic result. “It made me let go of perfection. I think when any artist does that, they do their best.”

It was the writing displayed on demos that Summer Dean sent to Bruce Robison that had him agreeing to work with her on the new project. “It’s a human story she’s telling,” Robison says. “She’s showcasing life from her perspective. There are things in Summer’s songs that can resonate with people, even if they’ve never lived anything she’s talking about.”

Authenticity is the common thread in most great country music, and Summer Dean has that in spades. To sing it, you first have to live it. Finally taking the full-time plunge into country music at the age of 40, she quit her job teaching elementary school, and spent the money that was supposed to go to her wedding to produce her 2020 album Bad Romantic that featured a duet with Colter Wall.

But where Bad Romantic took a more ’70s bell bottom honky tonk approach, early indications from The Biggest Life is Summer Dean goes back even further on the country music timeline to the Golden Era of country when greats like Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette were at their peak. This is what you hear in the song “The Biggest Life Worth Living Is The Small”—one of the 13 tracks Summer Dean wrote for the album.

When you see loquacious song titles like “She’s In His Arms But I’m In The Palm Of His Hand” and “Clean Up Your Act If You Wanna Talk Dirty To Me” you know the heartbreak will be coming, and the vintage influences will be flowing.

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The Biggest Life Track List:

1. Big Ol Truck
2. She Ain’t Me
3. Might Be Getting Over You
4. The Biggest Life Worth Living Is The Small
5. Move Along Devil
6. Can’t Hide The Heartache From Her Face
7. I’ll Forget Again Tomorrow
8. Bailing Wire
9. The Sun’s Gonna Rise Again
10. She’s In His Arms But I’m In The Palm Of His Hand
11. Other Women
12. Clean Up Your Act If You Wanna Talk Dirty To Me
13. Lonely Girl’s Lament

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