About Dean Mueller
“Dean Mueller’s songs are filled with depth and humor. I can hear him smiling and I can feel his pain as he delivers them. This album will turn some heads.” — Kevin McKendree, producer and Grammy-winning musician
“There is something so interesting and awesome here, earth-toned and endearing. Dean’s music is wonderful, clever and honest.” — Andrea Stolpe, creative consultant and multi-platinum songwriter
Following years of playing in bands and working behind the scenes as a producer and promoter, Dean Mueller is ready to step into the light. In October, Mueller will release Sky Fallin’, his solo album debut. He recorded the album of original Americana songs in Nashville with producer-pianist Kevin McKendree and some of Nashville’s finest musicians, including members of John Prine’s band.
McKendree, a Grammy-winning musician and longtime keyboardist in Delbert McClinton’s band, also performed and/or recorded with Buddy Guy, Little Richard, Anson Funderburgh, Tinsley Ellis, Bonnie Bramlett, Don Was and many more.
During pre-production talks, McKendree told Mueller that he heard Prine’s influence in Mueller’s songwriting. Mueller responded, saying that Prine is his favorite singer-songwriter. When McKendree asked Mueller what he wanted to achieve in the studio, the bassist-turned-singer-songwriter said: “A cross between John Prine and Tom Petty.”
Taking his cue, McKendree recruited two musicians who’d worked with Prine for Mueller’s recording sessions, drummer Kenneth Blevins and bassist Dave Jacques.
“I can’t even believe it,” Mueller says of his esteemed session players. “And Kevin McKendree is the perfect the producer for my music.”
Mueller learned many of Prine’s songs when he produced, promoted and played bass for Prine tribute shows in the Portland area. The shows happened before the master storyteller and singer-songwriter’s death in early 2020.
“And I saw John Prine perform in concert a bunch of times,” Mueller recalls. “I love his humor and the way he presented songs and told stories. He inspired me, after being in music all this time, to write my own songs.”
Based in Bend, Oregon, since 2021, Mueller has been part of Portland music scene for nearly 20 years. His work in the Portland area includes producing and promoting tribute shows to Patsy Cline, Nine Simone, Muddy Waters and, of course, John Prine.
Originally from Wildwood, Illinois, a small community northwest of Chicago, Mueller played trumpet during his childhood and bass through his college years. He discovered classic blues from Chicago and the South through recordings by 1960s and ’70s rock and blues-rock acts.
“I always wanted to be a musician, but didn’t see a path to it,” he says.
Mueller moved to Oregon in 1998. Newly graduated from college, his electrical engineering degree and skills earned him a job in the musical city of Portland. But when long hours at the computer caused him repetitive-strain injury and mental stress, Mueller wondered if music could be an alternative profession. Picking up his bass again, he attended the 2004 Port Townsend Acoustic Blues workshop in Washington. The experience was a turning point.
“I got to play with Honeyboy Edwards, Louisiana Red, Cephas and Wiggins, all those old-school blues artists,” he recalls. “After doing that, I went back to Portland and decided I could be a musician. I found my home in the blues.”
Mueller weaned himself from electrical engineering and transitioned to performing.
“I went to jams and worked my way into the scene,” he says. “Four of us who hung out at Duff’s Garage formed a band that took off like wildfire.”
That band was the Insomniacs. Joining three other musicians who frequented blues hangout Duff’s Garage, Mueller co-founded the Insomniacs in 2006. Delta Groove Records, a California blues label, subsequently picked up the band’s debut album and re-released it. Earning a Blues Music Awards nomination, the project brought the Insomniacs to Memphis for the annual BMA awards ceremony.
“That started our first tour,” Mueller says. “We had a great run.”
The Insomniacs is one of the many, mostly blues bands Mueller has performed with since he turned music pro in 2004. The other groups include Black Tangerine, Papa Salty, Big Monti, the DK Stewart Sextet, the Duffy Bishop Band and the multi-award-winning Julie Amici Band.
With Sky Fallin’, the versatile, entrepreneurial Mueller begins a new era of his career.
“Every song on my album has meaning and inspiration behind it,” he says. “It’s all reflective of my life, and it real.”
A professional musician for nearly 20 years, Dean Mueller has worked as a performer, producer, promoter, recording engineer and teacher. Now he begins a new phase of his career with Sky Fallin’, his solo album debut.
The bassist-turned-singer-songwriter recorded his album of original Americana songs in Nashville with producer-pianist Kevin McKendree and members of John Prine’s band. Mueller recorded the album with the goal of creating “a cross between John Prine and Tom Petty.”
Mueller’s extensive previous performing and recording experience includes the Duffy Bishop Band, Blues Music Awards-nominated Insomniacs and the award-winning Julie Amici Band. As a promoter and producer, he staged more than 400 performances in the past decade, including tributes to Patsy Cline, Nina Simone and his favorite singer-songwriter, the late John Prine.
“Every song on my album has meaning and inspiration behind it,” Mueller says. “It’s all reflective of my life, and it’s real.”