Little Rock native, Steve Dean, has returned home to bring the magic of music and songwriting to help our veteran community. He continues to have successful songwriting & performing career in Nashville, TN, with Grammy nominations and has co-written six number one Billboard country hits. This includes the "Most Played Song on Country Radio in 2007" and "Country AirCheck's Song of the Decade" in 2017!
Steve is thrilled to bring the Freedom Sings USA (FSUSA) team of Don Goodman, a Grammy nominated songwriter and named of of the top 100 Country Songwriters of all time; and Bobbie Allison-Standefer, Executive Director, to write the first Arkansas songs with some American heroes in his home town to tell Veterans' stories.
The first Veterans to write their stories into songs were:
Bruce Wesson, Vietnam combat photographer, "We Shot The Pictures"
(Bruce has many photos on display at the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History)
Bill Luplow, Vietnam fighter pilot, "Red Hog"
(AR Razorback Football Captain)
General Bill Webster, WWII fighter pilot, "Billy The Kid"
(General Webster, who was shot down, years later had dinner
with the Japanese pilot who shot him down)
and Paul Fair, Arkansas WWII Hero, "Honor Guard"
(Honor Guard for General MacArthur, and was also Assistant Superintendent of Little Rock Central High School during the 1957 desegregation)
Their songs are historic stories.
A few months later, with the help of Steve's longtime friend & City Director, Capi Peck, the Freedom Sings USA team came into town and held it's first retreat at the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History. It was there Michael Dobbs, Director of Central Arkansas VA Voluntary Services, got involved and continues to make a huge impact on the ongoing FSUSA program in Arkansas. Paul Tull, Little Rock Veteran and songwriter, participated in the first retreat and has since assumed a leadership position as the as the Director of Freedom Sings Arkansas.
Excitement continues to build around the continued Weekend Songwriting Retreats and starting up an ongoing veteran run class. The Arkansas veterans who have gone through the retreats, and are alumni, now have taken on roles to launch this soon-to-be ongoing program at the North Little Rock VA with the steady leadership of Michael Dobbs.