Heard of Music Row? Meet Music Mile!

How These Artists are Turning Dewey Beach into a Coastal Nashville

Story and Photography by Alex Csedrik

Nashville’s famous Music Row is known for the sheer amount of talent that occupies a stretch of “Music City.” What if you didn’t have to fly South for a center of budding singer/songwriters though? What if you could see live music—often for free—from artists with big talent and even bigger dreams, right here at the beach?

Enter Dewey Beach riding in on its surfboard. The easily walkable town, now known as “Delaware’s Favorite Playground,” though still affectionately remembered by its erstwhile slogan “A Way of Life,” has created quite the music scene in the past several years. Here’s how these several artists are turning this 1.2-mile-long beach community into Music Mile, and why the area is integral to their art.

Cecilia Grace is a Rehoboth Beach award-winning, nationally-touring, singer-songwriter, whose raw vocals have been compared to Alanis Morissette, Lainey Wilson, Adele and Stevie Nicks. She plays for Highway One establishments like Jimmy’s and Rusty Rudder in Dewey Beach, as well as Coastal Taproom and Dogfish Head in Rehoboth Beach, among other places. Originally from Baltimore, she immediately fell in love with the coastal vibe.

“Performing at the beach is just so much more laid back, from the sounds of the waves to the chill vibes of the people who live and vacation here. It is so relaxing to be surrounded by nature, and to take in the views while I perform at waterfront venues.”


Even when she’s not performing, she’s drawing inspiration from her surroundings. “On my days off in the summer, I love to go to the drive-on beach at Gordon’s Pond or take the boat along the back canals of Rehoboth. [My boyfriend] Ian drives the boat while I write songs or jam on my guitar, and breath in my gratitude for this little life.”

She’s even connected with other local artists, having recently written a song with Chris Diller.
With her drive and talent, expect her collaboration list to grow.

Chris Diller is originally from rural Maryland, but has settled in Rehoboth Beach. His chill personality coupled with his soulful songwriting make him a staple along the Mid-Atlantic coast, where he’s been a supporting act for Andy Frasco, the Bacon Brothers and Dylan Scott. His second album, Alive & Well, was released in November 2023, and boasts an aloha-meets-Americana sound.

“Beach bum life is, without a doubt, an influence on the type of music I write,” Chris says. “The connection with nature, the ocean and the laidback vacation vibes have found its way into my melodies and lyrics.”


On top of being a source of inspiration, the sea and its communities provide him with exciting gigs at joints like Jimmy’s in Dewey Beach, not to mention previous stints in Ocean City.

“[Playing in this area is] touring without touring. You get a different crowd every night. Dewey goers know that live music is a big part of what makes this small beach town special.”

His singing and songwriting keep making waves here at the beach.


Marissa Levy is a Lewes-based singer/songwriter whose deeply personal yet universally relatable music appeals to all music lovers.

She started her career while attending NYU and played with artists such as Matt Nathanson, Gavin DeGraw, Lisa Loeb and Ron Pope. She’s released four albums to date, with her most recent one, Marissa Levy is Fine, being a collaboration with singer/songwriter Cliff Hillis.


She’s driving the coastal music scene as a performer and an owner of the performing venue, The Listening Booth, in Rehoboth Beach. She finds the area has “so much talent to pull from and everyone is so excited to have new opportunities,” which has introduced her to many like-minded individuals, something that truly inspires her. “[The Coastal area] can be an ideal location to easily travel all along the Northeast corridor and play music.”

Although she predominantly focuses on original music, she’s happy to wade into the covers water. She’s one-half of a duo with a fellow musician, and they’ll play their setlist of originals and ones we all know and love all over Sussex County. One of the best parts, she says, about the coastal crowds is the excitement.

“There is a terrifically cultured audience of locals and recent transplants that are dying for something new down here,” Marissa says.

She’s helping to give them just what they want.

Matt Quinton knows the siren song of this area quite well. As a musician for over 30 years, with performances and artist-in-resident stints at iconic venues like The Bitter End in New York, The Elbo Room in Fort Lauderdale and Sloppy Joe’s & Irish Kevin’s in Key West he’s done summers in the area, ventured off, but always makes his way back.


After leaving Delaware last year, he’s back at Nalu Surf Bar in Dewey Beach, where he’s an artist-in-resident, and will play several gigs at Conch Island Key West Bar & Grill in Rehoboth, Paradise Grill & Pub in Long Neck and Seacrets in Ocean City.

“Everyone [at the beach] is in a good mood… except for the guy with the excessive road rage, sitting in traffic. He hates his day already, but even he can pull over, park somewhere, and find somebody who can play something to make him forget about that,” Quinton says.

His album, Another Key West Night, boasts beach vibes from his Key West days, themes he continues to touch on in his new songs.

“I like to write songs with characters. Sometimes, developing those characters is a chore, unless you’re writing about someone you meet in Dewey Beach,” Matt says. “The work is pretty much done for you.”

His songwriting collaborations include artists such as Kenny Chesney, Lewis Brice, Ken Alphin and beach buddy JJ Rupp, and we can’t wait to hear about some of the characters he’s recently met. CS

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