Grammy-nominated musician Roxie Dean will perform alongside Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame members Dickey Lee and Pat Alger on Thursday night at the Gertrude C. Ford Center.
“The students are going to love this,” Steve Vassallo, organizer of the event, said. “If we have a good turnout, this will be the first of many that come out from Nashville to Ole Miss.”
Vassallo said that in addition to singing songs, the artists will be telling the stories behind their music.
Roxie Dean received a Grammy nomination in 2001 for co-writing “When I Think About Angels” with Jamie O’Neal. She also scored chart-topping recordings by Reba McEntire, Faith Hill, Sara Evans, Tracy Lawrence, Lorrie Morgan and others.
“I am playing this event because I never pass up an opportunity to play with legends like Dickie and Pat,” Dean said. “It’s a treat for me, not even close to what a job is supposed to look like. But I also wanted to come see what the Ole Miss fuss is all about.”
Dean will join Dicky Lee onstage, who hit No. 6 on the pop charts with the song “Patches” in 1962. That same year, he released “I Saw Linda Yesterday,” and it hit No. 14 in early 1963.
“I’m a big Ole Miss fan,” Lee said. “I went to the University of Memphis, but I have a big soft spot in my heart for Ole Miss.”
Lee said many of the songs are special to him, but he is particularly excited to perform”The Keeper of the Stars.”
“It was a big hit in the ’80s,” Lee said. “It’s kind of my philosophy on life.”
Completing the trio, Pat Alger was one of the most successful country songwriters of the late ’80s and early ’90s. He was the co-author of the songs “Lone Star State of Mind” and “The Last of the True Believers.”
“I have always wanted to come to Oxford but somehow never made it,” Alger said. “I’ve heard about its great book stores and, of course, Ole Miss. Book stores usually mean well-read people, who are always the most interesting people to play for. I am a rare book collector, also, and Mississippi has produced some of the greatest writers we have.”
Alger said it’s hard to pin down a favorite song out of the work he’s done in his career. However, his hit “Unanswered Prayers” stood out in his mind.
“I have had so much feedback over the years concerning its long-term effect on people,” Alger said. “It’s a simple idea that is a universal truth – we don’t always want or know what’s best for us, and sometimes God lets us know by just letting things turn the way they should.”
The Ford Center will host a meet and greet before the event starts. Tickets will be sold at the UM Box Office or online at fordcenter.org. Orchestra/parterre seats cost $20, while mezzanine seats cost $15 and balcony seats cost $12.