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Mission comes before music for fledgling country trio

By Rhett Wilkinson

Mormon Times

Published: Friday, June 24 2011 5:30 a.m. MDT

Dyer Highway, a country trio from Highland, Utah, is about to release a self-titled CD. They recently traveled to Nashville to record songs and will be opening for the Nashville Tribute Band in August.

Siblings Tel, 18, Tiann, 15, and 14-year-old Mady Dyer are taking a step into a larger world, but they are also applying the reigns.

There's something far more significant next in life's path, says Tel. The guitarist, who just graduated from American Fork High School, will be serving a Mormon mission early next year.

"People we’re working with right now that could take us to next level know where we stand and know we have to wait a couple years before anything serious goes on," Tel said.

Jason Deere is among such people. It was after his own concert four years ago when Tel approached him. After keeping in touch with Deere during the coming years, the teens caught a big break when he allowed them to perform for him following a November performance with Due West.

It took a few days, but Deere did indeed get back to the family, carrying excellent news with him.

"I remember him saying, 'I don’t know how to help you out,'" Tel said. "He said he could just get us back there (in Nashville) and get you a good record. We had a lot of fun doing that."

The Dyers, who have been playing together for 10 years, traveled to Tennessee in April, a trip Tel described as "awesome."

"It's cool to see the actual process," Tiann said of the challenges of recording an album. "You have a new appreciation for what you love. Before, you listen and enjoy, just saying, 'Oh, this is a nice song.' Now, the way you listen to music changes completely."

It's safe to say that Deere figured out how to help a group that has been together since the girls were not yet in elementary school.

"You need to have some things in line to make it work," Deere said of Dyer Highway's ability to get a record, especially at such an early age. "You need to have a trigger to spend the rest of your time doing that. Number one, the mom, very appropriately talked to me on Facebook for about four years, and for a time, very appropriately put pressure on me."

Once he heard the music, Deere didn't mind as much. He also appreciates Tel's conviction regarding serving a mission.

"I said, 'Atta boy,'" said Deere, himself a Mormon. "One thing I say all the time, especially to LDS people who want to do what I do or be involved in arts for your living — there's only one right way to do this in entertainment business, and the way is how your Heavenly Father wants you to do it. You have to develop the ability to listen and ... become an instrument in his hands. That requires a lot of listening."

It's a challenge that Deere can relate to. When called as a seminary teacher for 24 Latter-day Saint youths in the Nashville area, Deere expected his thriving career to plummet. Two years later, he found himself preparing "A Nashville Tribute to Joseph Smith."

"I'm blessed to have a set of people that do it for the same reason that I do," Deere said. "We do it because what it does for us and to see what it does for other people. It's remarkable. It has nothing to do with us."

Such a perspective has helped the Dyer siblings remain connected.

"They are each other's best friends," Stacey Dyer said of her children. "As they know of what it means to spend the eternities together, they know of the importance of developing those relationships."

Such a perspective also has a strong presence in their music, said Stacey, who initially involved the three in music together to give them the opportunity to bond.

"As they write songs, they know you cannot simply sit down and write a song without the help of the Spirit and know it's a gift they have been given," she said. "They know the importance of moving forward and using it for good."

The siblings say they have realized their act works best when they are intact.

"For some time, I didn’t realize that that’s kind of a weird thing for teenage brothers and sisters to get along," Tel said. "I now realize it's something I’m grateful for, and that it's something we’ve always had. It's not like we're forced to get along. We've come to respect to understand that we can’t do it without Mady, and it's the same way without Tiann. We know that and respect it."

Dyer Highway will be performing June 25 at Lehi High School. More information can be found at www.dyerhighway.com.

Email: rwilkinson@desnews.com

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