Dean Phillips to Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass

Stewartstown, PA native Dean Phillips has been announced as the new banjo player with Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass.

The 27 year old banjo instructor at The Guitar Spot USA (in Red Lion) has rapidly been making a name for himself in the Maryland/Delaware/Virginia area, playing with Satyr Hill Band, Mason Dixon Line, Hot Rod Mule, The Harold Tipton Band, and other aggregations in and around Baltimore. He was also the first call fill-in on banjo for Paisley when Mark Delaney was unable to make a show.

Dean picked up the music bug at 14, learning to play guitar inspired by Tony Rice. Then at 18, his grandfather took him to hear Baltimore-based banjo whiz Mike Munford, and Phillips switched his passion to banjo.

After learning his first few tunes, he reached out to Munford for lessons, but being a college student at the time, he couldn’t afford regular lessons. But Mike agreed to let him work for his tuition, doing yard work and splitting wood in exchange for lessons.

Paisley offered a warm welcome to his new banjo man.

“We are excited to kick off the year by announcing the addition of Dean Pillips to the band! Over the past decade, we have had the pleasure of watching Dean grow up and develop into a fantastic professional musician. He will be a great asset, and we are grateful he accepted our invitation to join the band.”

In response to this news, Phillips shared his eagerness to play with the Southern Grass.

“I am fortunate to be given this opportunity and I’d like to thank Danny, Ryan, T.J. and Bobby for having me on board. 

I’m excited to travel and meet many new folks along the way.”

Danny also wanted to include a word of thanks to departing banjoist.

“Mark Delaney is a true and faithful friend who traveled with us for 11 years. We wish him the best as he looks to stay home to fulfill family obligations.”

Phillips released a nine-track CD, All Roads Lead To Home, in the fall of last year. He explained a bit about what he hoped to achieve with the album.

“In 2021, I decided to record All Roads Lead to Home with my influences and musicians I look up to. Every musician with the exception of Michael Cleveland, Jeff Partin, Troy Engle, and Josh Schilling came on site at Mountain Fever Studio and recorded their part. 

My goal was to capture the raw three chord Baltimore Bluegrass sound, and also incorporate progressive tunes to showcase local and mainstream bluegrass talent.”

Check the Danny Paisley web site for tour dates in 2023.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.