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Still Bopping

Dan Seals hasn't lost any of his drive since he "bopped" to the top of the charts in the '80s. "I'd love to have another No. 1 record," declares the 54-year-old Texan, who has enjoyed 11 of them during his 19-year solo career, including "Bop" and "Love On Arrival."

"I tell you, there's nothing in the world like getting an award, or having a song that they can't press fast enough to keep up with the public demand."

He may just get his chance. Dan is looking for a new record deal, and has recently been recording with Kyle Lehning, who manned the studio boards for Dan's '70s pop hits as part of England Dan and John Ford Coley, including "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight."

But Dan, who lives outside Nashville with his wife, Andrea, and Jesse, the youngest of his four children, says he's not looking to retrace his pop roots. "I get a chance now to play the Grand Ole Opry once in a while, and I just get butterflies in my stomach," he chuckles. "Growing up in Texas, all we had for outside music was listening to the Opry or the Louisiana Hayride. Man, the Opry was the biggest, the best, the finest that you could do."

But he's still disappointed that his career stalled in 1990, after an ill-fated record-label switch from Capitol to Warner Bros. "We went straight from having No. 1 records to zero," he recalls. "During four years with Warner Bros., I never seemed to get a shot. So I just told them I was leaving, and didn't get much of a fight. That made me reassess everything."

He decided to produce himself, recording the stripped-down, independently released 1995 album In A Quiet Room.

"It's got two acoustic guitars and a 16th-century string bass," says Dan. "It did real well here - and went gold in the Philippines!"

Dan followed it up in 1998 with In A Quiet Room II, and is readying a new album, Make It Home, recorded prior to his reunion with Kyle Lehning.

These days, Dan leads a simple life, averaging three performances a week and devoting time to his hobby of making bamboo fly-fishing rods.

"I play, I come home, I spend time with my family," he says. "I make bamboo rods in my shed. I go back out and play. I write songs. And I'm waiting for my next song to come."

-- Nick Krewen