Country music insiders aren't easily impressed - even by "marquee names." What they admire is professionalism - singers who really feel a "vocation" for what they do. Chris Hillman of the Desert Rose Band comes to mind; a guy who began with The Byrds, came back as a member of The Flying Burrito Brothers, then found popularity again with the Desert Rose boys.
He's always been out there working.And so has Dan Seals.
"I sold my soul to this business when I was a baby," Seals recently told the Deseret News. "I've played a lot of kinds of music to make a living over the years. I've actually had four careers: one in a band (Southwest FOB), one in a duo (England Dan and John Ford Coley), one as a solo act, and then the next one that comes along."
And at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 23, in the University of Utah's Huntsman Center, Seals will be bringing his four careers to Salt Lake City. Tickets are $15 and are available at standard locations. For information call KSOP at 972-1043.
"The truth is, I've been very fortunate," Seals explains. "I was blessed with a father who played with Ernest Tubb, and Iwas able to write songs that people liked before I joined the field as a performer. Things have worked out well."
As "England Dan," Seals was part of several pop hits in the '70s ("Nights Are Forever," "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight," "It's Sad to Belong").
The '80s meant another start, this time in 1984 with the country hit "God Must Be a Cowboy."
This trip, Seals will showcase material from his latest album, "Love on Arrival." We'll also get a fair share of hits from his new double CD set, "Portrait." Listen for "Old Yellow Car" and "You Still Move Me."
The most-requested song in his arsenal is probably "Bop," but his own personal anthem is "Everything That Glitters," a song he wrote with the legendary Bob McDill.
"Working with McDill is like sitting at the master's feet," says Seals. "The way he works is he comes to work every day, works 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on his songs, then goes home. He's incredible."
Seals and McDill have teamed up on several big songs, including "Big Wheels."
In the end, what keeps Seals afloat in the business while others sink is the professionalism mentioned earlier; that, and his staunch sense of personal integrity.
"I don't do drinking songs because I don't live the lifestyle," he says. "I'm not above talking about reality, but I'd rather sing songs with a message. I have one on my next album called `We Are One.' It deals with religious prejudice in Ireland, with the Muslim faith, with the Untouchables in India. It says `We are one, we are the leaves of one tree.' That's the kind of song I like to do."
And judging from Seals' 20 years on the charts, it's probably just the kind of song listeners will want to hear.
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