LIVE MUSIC: Dean Olson at Bluff Top Vineyard!
Jul 29, 2023
02:00 pm - 04:00 pm
Jul 29, 2023
02:00 pm - 04:00 pm
The Winery will be open from Noon to 7pm, with Dean Olson performing from 2-4pm!
Bring your bag chair and enjoy a glass of Sangria Sunrise, Elderberry Crush, Maple Lemon or Summer Breeze while listening to great music from many generations.
Dean usually performs in a duo called Sal & Dean, but Sal is on vacation and Deans has enjoyed performing some solo gigs lately.
His playlist includes Simon & Garfunkel, Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor, Neil Diamond, The Eagles, Bon Jovi and more!
Wanna learn a little more about Dean?
My musical career began in the fall of 1965 when I watched the Beatles perform “I’m Down” on the Ed Sullivan Show. I turned to my dad and told him that is what I wanted to do – shortly thereafter, he took me to a small music store and bought me my first guitar. A few years later I traded that guitar for a bass guitar because my friends were organizing a band and, if I wanted to be in the band, had to play bass. This lead to many years of playing in numerous bands in the La Crosse area.
In the early 80’s a friend contacted me, asking me to move to Hawaii and work on music with him – I took him up on the offer. For nine months I played Country Western music in clubs and military bases on the island of Oahu. This was wonderful, but it didn’t feel quite right, so I returned to Wisconsin and hooked up with Vilas Craig – a recording artist from Southwestern Wisconsin. Vilas went to Florida for the winter, so the remaining members of the band decided to continue playing without him. After a few personnel changes, we evolved to a very popular band, playing oldies and classic rock music. We still get together annually to play a few songs at a Rock & Roll Reunion that we hold every summer.
I could see there was a change coming so I returned to college after a 12 year hiatus and obtained my degree in Civil Engineering. Yes – time to get a real job. Music took a back seat to work and family, but reared its head when we moved back to the La Crosse area. I reconnected with members of the Park Street Band (the band I was playing with when I decided to move to Hawaii) and formed the band Highway 16. This band was active in the La Crosse area for over 10 years, but ended in 2012. I also became involved with our church’s praise band where I transitioned from bass to acoustic guitar and also provided an opportunity to start teaching people how to play guitar. I was fortunate enough to receive a Jefferson Award in 2022 for my efforts.
Work once again became a primary focus, but as I approached retirement, I began concentrating more on acoustic guitar and joined with Sal Sorrentino, the guitar played from the Park Street band, to form Sal & Dean. Since 2019, we have regularly played in some great locations throughout the area and had a blast doing this. This past year, people had contacted me to ask for dates because their scheduled entertainment had cancelled, but Sal was not available. In the interest of trying to help out, I offered to cover the entertainment by doing a solo act. Although the first couple of times were a bit scary, I have now become more comfortable in this situation. I am in no means considering moving away from the Sal & Dean combination because we do some great and fun things together that are not possible as a solo, but do on occasion enjoy the challenge of honing my skills.
There are a number of reasons I decided to return to music after my retirement, but the catalyst was at a family gathering a number of years ago. In 2012, I went to my uncle’s 90th birthday party. One of my cousins approached me at that party to tell me about a discussion she had with my father a number of years earlier. She told me that they were talking and my father said that he was so proud of me – not that I had completed college and became a successful engineer, or that I had married and had a beautiful family – no, his response was “he’s a musician”. Hearing that changed my approach to music.