Biography

Dave Oyen grew up on a farm near Baltic, South Dakota and began playing music at a young age. By age 14 he played several instruments including guitar, piano, trumpet, trombone, euphonium and sousaphone. While still in junior high, he started a duo with his brother, Nels. The two played mostly for friends and family, but this lit the spark for things to come.

After graduating high school, Dave left home and joined the Marines. During the first week of boot camp, an opportunity arose to audition for the Marine Band. Dave recalls it this way, "I was getting desperate for a smoke. I figured if I went for an audition, I might get a chance for a smoke break. I was right – they let us have a smoke. I did the audition and never gave it another thought. When we completed Boot Camp, we got our orders – mine were to report to San Diego for field music school. That took me by surprise. Upon graduation from field music school I was recommended to be sent to Washington, DC to audition for the Drum & Bugle Corps at 8th & I Marine Barracks, which is the top musical unit in the Marine Corps. I passed that audition and the rest is history - all because I wanted a cigarette."

While in Washington, Dave performed for dignitary arrivals at the White House during both JFK and LBJ administrations, as well as the inaugural parade for LBJ. In June of 1964 Dave flew to Hollywood with the Drum & Bugles Corps and was part of a TV special for Meredith Wilson (writer of The Music Man) at CBS Television City. During his stint in the Marines, Dave formed a folk group called "The San Quentin Seven" with fellow Marines. The group recorded an album of classic folk songs at the Marine Band recording studio at the Marine Barracks in the summer of 1964. The San Quentin Seven's notable performances include the 1964 Florida State Fair and a show with The New Christy Minstrels in Pennsylvania. The group disbanded after the members left the Marines in 1965.

From 1966 to 1971 Dave performed as a solo act at various establishments in California and South Dakota. In 1971, he joined an existing band in Sioux Falls as lead singer. This band quickly morphed into "Dave Oyen and the New Men" and performed steady from 1971 to 1978 throughout South Dakota including performing as the opening act for national artists such as Don Williams.

In 1978, looking for a change of scenery, Dave decided to move to Nashville. He performed in and around Nashville for the next 5 years, but eventually came home to South Dakota in 1983. In 1989 he returned to the sunshine of California and was the congregational song leader at the Church of Christ in Chino, CA.

In 2000, Dave returned to the recording studio after a long abscense and recorded "Thanks for Listening" with his nephew Steve at a studio in Minnesota. The two had such a good time and talked often about recording another album. It was not until 7 years later that the two reunited in the studio and recorded the tracks for "Collection," Dave's latest studio effort. As Steve explains, "We set off for the studio with nothing other than an acoustic guitar and a few ideas floating around in our heads. Dave belted out dozens of songs that span the 50 year course of his music career. We then selected the best 15 songs, and those songs became "Collection."

In 2009, Dave was inducted into the South Dakota Country Music Hall of Fame where he is enshrined as one of South Dakota's preeminent country music performers. Also in 2009, Dave and his wife Kathy moved to the Flathead Valley of Montana. There he continues to perform as a solo act and with a mixed chorale group – The Valley Voices.

In 2011, Dave was again honored in his native South Dakota by being inducted into the "Legends of South Dakota Country Music." Dave performed at the live event and a track from that performance is included on his 2012 release, "Recollection."