There are songwriters, and then there are poets -- artists who magically weave melodies and words into three-and-a-half-minute masterpieces that outshine the paint-by-numbers songs that often clog up the airwaves. Dean Dillon is the latter. The Tennessee native hitchhiked to Nashville in the early '70s in search of country music glory and wound up being one of the most successful songwriters to ever set foot in Music City. Dillon's earliest break came when, at the age of 15, he won a contest that landed him a regular spot on Jim Clayton's Star Time Variety Show in Knoxville, TN. The singer/songwriter finished high school and then struck out for the bright lights of Nashville. A short-lived stint on Plantation Records, under the name Dean Dalton, produced the single "Las Vegas Girl." In 1976, Dillon landed the role of Hank Williams in Opryland's Country Music Show, USA. The theme park gig indirectly helped Dillon secure his first publishing deal.