Dean Johnston, who will perform at the Tom Quilty endurance ride laster this month.
Dean Johnston is on his way to Nashville, Tennessee to perform at the famous annual Fan Fair, but on the way will stop off to perform at the Quilty, at Nanango on September 18, and will also entertain guests at the closing night dinner on Sunday September 21 at the Nanango Cultural Centre.
Johnston, at 20 years of age, has been performing professionally for 16 years. Sitting behind a mini-drum kit in the Johnston family band called Patchwork he appeared at venues around Newcastle and Maitland in New South Wales. One year later at five years of age he had progressed to a full-sized kit.
His mother, Tanya remember that the audience would wonder where all the drumming was coming from, as you couldn't see young Dean until he stood up. Today he stands tall as one of Australia's emerging talents.
Having appeared at all the major events in the region including making it to the coveted Toyota Starmaker Finals (Top 20) Tamworth at this years festival also a Finalist in that NSW Gold Medallions Awards, it is not surprising he is heading for Nashville the undisputed home of country music.
The Fan Fair has been an annual event since 1972 when 5000 music fans attended to hear such greats as Billy "Crash" Craddock, Del Wood, and Loretta Lyn.
Last year 191,000 ticket paying fans attended the fair and many thousand more visited Nashville to join in the associated festivities.
Dual winners of the Tom Quilty Gold cup 2007 in Western Australia - Anton Reid (Endurowest Kumari) and Christoph Shork (USA) riding Arovo Mini Harvest.
He has just released his first EP with two original songs and two covers. He writes the lyrics and the music and is now working on another eight for his next album.
Born into a musical family, Dean started playing guitar at 14 years of age. His grandfather, Norman Whitton, who played with Australian greats Smokey Dawson and Reg Lindsay, was a noted pedal steel guitarist.
Dean plays a Maton Acoustic Guitar a custom made Mattchous and is planning on having a Tomkins made to suit his style.
His musical idols include Garth Brooks, Adam Harvey and Steve Ford.
He is hoping another local country musician Keith Urban will be in Nashville for the Fan Fair. Meantime, a keen rider, Dean will be giving that touch of magic to the start of the Quilty Gold Cup 2008, performing in the Nanango Show Grounds with his band from 7pm.